View the published New Solutions Reports
New Solutions Saginaw
April 3, 2012 Press Event Information
Press Coverage from April 3, 2012 Saginaw Press Conference
The Saginaw News
Union-planned event urges higher fines to banks that foreclose on and neglect property in Saginaw
Published: Tuesday, April 03, 2012, 1:04 PM Updated: Tuesday, April 03, 2012, 1:09 PM
By Gus Burns | email@example.com
A satellite dish attached to the roof is one of few reminders that this structure was once inhabited.
In the backyard a few bright blooming yellow and red flowers seem out of place among what otherwise resembles a miniature dump, including 30-some bags of garbage, strewn cloths, paneling and other debris.
Portions of the exterior surrounding the windows are charred blackened with soot. It, like many others of Saginaw’s abandoned homes, has drawn the attention of arsonists.
A fire at the home melted vinyl siding on the structure of the home next door and guaranteed its ultimate demise, demolition.
It’s cases of negligence like this that prompted city officials — Fire Marshal Gregory Barton and Chief Inspector John Stemple — City Councilwoman Annie Boensch, members of the Service Employees International Union, the Ezekiel Project and residents to combine efforts to fight against absentee landlords and big bank owners who let their problem become the city’s.
Stemple did not know how many foreclosed homes there currently are in Saginaw, but he said it can take up to three years before the city is granted legal ownership of a property that is abandoned.
By that time, it has usually already been deemed a “dangerous building” requiring razing, which he said costs taxpayers $6,000.
Stemple said the city is working with the SEIU, which has embarked on similar projects in municipalities across the county, to create an ordinance that increases fines against absentee land owners and banks, the revenue of which would subsidize code enforcement efforts.
“The ordinance is still under review,” Stemple said. “Most of it involves penalties, so if you are irresponsible we start tagging on fines and penalties that start at $500 and go up.”
A press conference to announce the effort took place in front of 812 Davenport Tuesday, a house that an SEIU release called “a dangerous foreclosed home abandoned by Bank of America.”
Saginaw online assessor records show the residence is currently owned by a Taylor Curley Jr., of 1127 Owen, although it appears Bank of America foreclosed on the home for $18,513 in October 2010.
Curry took possession of it for $2,000 in February 2012.
We have our New York Banks, like Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Morgan Chase Bank that preys on innocent citizens with all of the predatory lending in this city,” Grady Holmes Jr., lead organizer of Ezekiel Project, a nonprofit community organization. “The only way we are going to stop this is by holding the banks responsible as they fill their pockets.
“And that’s on the arms of our poor, hard-working citizens in this community. We have to stop it.”
Boensch, a member of Saginaw City council, said plans to create a committee to investigate changes to Saginaw ordinances are forthcoming.
WNEM (preview story)
‘New Solutions For Saginaw’ eyes blight problems
Posted: Apr 03, 2012 9:39 AM EDT Updated: Apr 03, 2012 9:54 AM EDT
By Brandon Allendorfer, Internet Managing Editor
SAGINAW, MI (WNEM) – Citizens and city leaders will gather at a vacant, neglected house in Saginaw on Davenport Avenue on Tuesday to propose a new policy to hold owners of foreclosed homes – including big banks – responsible for their maintenance following foreclosures.
Officials say nearly 1,000 homes are in foreclosure in the county, and the majority of them are within the city of Saginaw.
According to a news release issued by New Solutions for Saginaw, “the plan has broad support as a way of forcing the big banks that caused the foreclosure crisis in the first place to take responsibility, rather than allowing them to force our community to absorb the financial costs and suffer the damage that blight and related problems cause.”
The news conference will be held Tuesday at 11 a.m. to announce the details.
Saginaw Fire Marshal Gregory Barton, Ezekiel Project organizer Grady Holmes Jr. and Saginaw Chief Inspector John Stemple are among those expected to speak at the event.
Published letters in the Saginaw News concerning the New Solutions Saginaw Foreclosure Ordinance