Cynthia was told she’d have to pay a flat fee of $5,000 to save her home. She folded, and her home will be offered up at an auction this fall. Cynthia is not alone. These obstacles, combined with the fact that few eligible homeowners know about the exemption, resulted in tens of thousands of low-income Detroiters losing their homes for inability to pay taxes they should’ve never been charged. This foreclosure crisis had a disproportionately devastating effect on African-American homeowners, who are often more likely to be foreclosed on than non-black homeowners.
The case was a classic civil rights case involving poor minorities whose need for basic travel to jobs and for everyday life fell victim to the desire of public officials to serve rail riders from the better-off, mostly white suburbs and the lure of flashy new trains and ribbon-cutting at sparkling new train stations.
You need full access to the courts to hold the wealthy and the powerful accountable. That right is being eroded before your very eyes. It must remain available to all of us if we are to continue challenging discrimination in our country and ensuring that ordinary people are not forced into a black box, privatized, justice system designed by and to serve corporate America.