Neighboring 101 - A Tale from Neighborhood

Hi Everybody!  Our neighborhood says, hello and welcome to the D!

I am Edythe Ford, the Community Engagement Director and Building Operations Manager for The Commons and a lifelong resident of Detroit and the Pingree Park neighborhood.  Detroit 48214 is a resilient community and this is one of our stories.  

Mr. Glenn is a senior on Crane Street, he lives behind me and has been a member of our community since 1969.  He was brought to our attention by my next door neighbor, Mr. Taul, Mr. Glenn was about to lose his home because he could not keep up with his property tax payments.  

With Mr. Taul, I went over to Mr. Glenn's, not only was in really behind in his property taxes, his gas and electricity were shut off!  Working with our community partners, St. Augustine/St. Monica and the St. Vincent De Paul Society we got Mr. Glenn's utilities back on in 2 days!  

Next, we got Mr. Glenn to apply for a property tax exemption and to claim his residence as Personal Residence Exemption.  The Property Tax Exemption is a long time state law which allows low-income Michigan residents to apply to have their property tax exempted yearly, providing they are low income and maintain ownership of the home, there are with no liens or paybacks for receiving an exemption.  The Personal Residence Exemption lowered Mr. Glenn's tax rate for back years he was overcharged, erased a lot of interest, and lowered his tax balance to under $2000 from $6783.  And we weren't done yet, once his balance was under $2000, the State Emergency Relief fund paid the entire $2000 past due balance, he started 2019 with zero house debt, lights, and gas!

I never expect a thank you or gifts, because God says we must care for our neighbors!  Next, I am not good with rewards and accolades because of something we all should be doing, Caring for our Neighbors!!

Fast forward to March 2019 and Mr. Glenn stops by the Commons and hands me an envelope and to apply for his 2019 Property Tax Exemption. The envelope was a happy birthday, thank you card (I still don't know how he knew it was my birthday, he won't tell).  Mr. Glenn has a very small retirement income, but he manages to save a couple of dollars to buy me a Cappuccino for my birthday!!  Helping Mr. Glenn was not the big deal in this story, it what Jesus calls us to do, what is touching, is we get to love our neighbors and get loved back in ways that are far more special than thank you's and gifts.  We get to touch lives in the way Jesus has called us, we give God the glory.

So, the next time you drive thru our old neighborhood, just remember this lesson in Neighboring 101!!  We are not down, we are hopeful, because "with God as our partner, we make our plans LARGER!"