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Rocket Companies Founder Dan Gilbert announced a new plan to invest $500 million in Detroit neighborhoods over the next 10 years.
Gilbert and CEO Jay Farner spoke in an interview with CBS This Morning on Thursday where the announcement was made. They detailed the announcement during a press conference on Thursday morning.
According to the interview, the first $15 million will go to relieve property tax debt for homeowners. Farmer said it’s expected to cover about 20,000 homes that are delinquent.
“It was very clear to us that it was property taxes that caused a majority of blight in Detroit,” Gilbert said. “A vast majority of Detroiters at one point were in tax foreclosure. With interest and penalties, that debt kept building.”
According to Gilbert, many people owed more than the home was worth, and they would just walk away from their homes.
“If you look at the energy level downtown right now, we have to carry it through to the neighborhoods and have the whole city have that energy,” Gilbert said.
Gilbert’s wife, Jennifer, participated in listening sessions in the neighborhoods to try and figure out what they needed.
“We did a lot of listening,” she said in the interview.
The investment will establish the Detroit Tax Relief Fund, which will be administered by the Wayne Metro Community Action Agency, and eligible residents will have delinquent taxes paid for.
The Gilbert Family Foundation will aim to also use the Detroit Tax Relief Fund to help future investments in the city and build partnerships to focus on community priorities including home repair needs, digital equity and more.
The Rocket Community Fund will also invest $150 million of $500 million to focus on housing, employment and public life.