Quicken Loans has launched a massive effort to help Detroit homeowners and renters save their houses from tax foreclosure

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Credit: Dimitri Ramirez/Woodward Original

For years, thousands of Detroit families have faced tax foreclosure, with many losing their homes. Now, officials with Quicken Loans are doing all they can to help the Michigan residents keep their beloved roofs over their heads.

Quicken Loans snagged a spot on PEOPLE’s annual Companies That Care list in 2017 and has continued its best efforts with the “Neighbor to Neighbor” program, in which the company works with more than two dozen community organizations to help families at risk of tax foreclosure.

“The most beneficial part of this program is sustainably keeping people in their homes,” Laura Grannemann, vice president of investments for the Quicken Loans Community Investment Fund, tells PEOPLE, calling the at-risk homeowners “the most vulnerable population” in the city.

“It’s crucial that we all make sure they have access to stable housing … housing stability issues have really plagued the city of Detroit for a long time, so this is a new and exciting program that we think can start to change the trend.”

Laura Grannemann, vice president of community investments at Quicken Loans
| Credit: Stevie Soul Anasra / Woodward Original

Grannemann says that thousands of Detroit renters have been put out of their homes because of landlords who failed to pay their tax bills, while low-income homeowners often miss out on tax exemptions that could help them avoid foreclosure.

“It’s not their fault that they’re in this situation,” she says.

To end the cycle, the Quicken Loans Community Investment Fund has contributed $500,000 to the program.

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“As soon as someone misses their property tax bill, we should be knocking on the door the next day,” Grannemann tells PEOPLE. “We set up this fund so we could work with individual community development corporations, community groups, churches, all across the city of Detroit in order to help us lead that direct outreach and do paid door-to-door outreach.”

She adds: “We have also been hosting workshops all around the city where we help people apply for exemptions that they might be eligible for.”

The program began in late October, and by January officials had reached about 35,000 of the 65,000 homes that are at risk of foreclosure.

“It actually works very well and I think we can reach everyone probably by February,” Grannemann says. “We strongly believe in giving back to the cities that we live, work and play in.”