DETROIT (FOX 2) - Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan presented 135 deeds to graduates of the Detroit Land Bank Authority Buy Back Program on Tuesday.
"We just strengthened 135 blocks with a new homeowner," Duggan said.
People like Ricky Palmer.
"Thank God I own this house," he said.
It’s a house that was once owned by his family members.
"My people owned it a long time ago. It overlapped, so I went to the Land Bank to get the house back," Palmer said. "So I finally got it back after three years.
"I feel so comfortable and relaxed, I got my own house I don’t have to worry about paying rent, I don't have to worry about getting into somebody’s house or sleeping on their couch or nothing."
But before participants of the buy back program receive their deed, there’s work to do - like completing a year of homebuyer counseling courses and saving up money to pay their summer tax bill.
"We do financial assessments with them and assist them in budgeting creating savings," said Javay Coleman. "And then we counsel them throughout the 12 months process to get them to the event that’s today which is where they receive their deed."
The buy back program provides a pathway to homeownership for people living in houses owned by Detroit Land Bank.
"When we first launched buy back as a pilot in 2016 we were entering into unchartered territory," said Tammy Daniels, Detroit Land Bank Authority. "The success of this program is unprecedented. Not just here in Detroit but across the country."