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Tax foreclosures, affordable housing top of mind in advance of Duggan's State of the City address

Sarah Hulett
Michigan Radio

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan will deliver his sixth State of the City speech on Tuesday, March 5. Duggan's office has not released any details of the planned speech, but in the past, he has focused on issues like affordable housing, jobs, and education. 

But he's expected to hit key issues like jobs and affordable housing. Jerry Paffendorf is with Loveland Technologies. The group maps property use and foreclosures in Detroit. He hopes Duggan tackles the problem of tax foreclosures head on in his speech.

"The first thing I'd love to hear the mayor say about tax foreclosure is that he's going to work to make sure there's a policy that no occupied homes get sold at the auction any longer," says Paffendorf.

The number of properties auctioned to pay taxes has gone down year after year. Paffendorf says he hopes that Duggan doesn't present those numbers without acknowledging it as a continuing problem.

"I think that would be an attempt at spin, which will eventually catch up to all of us in the city," says Paffendorf.

Last year in his State of the City address, Duggan promised to demolish, renovate, or board up every remaining abandoned house in Detroit. He also highlighted decreasing crime, and plans to improve the roads.

A spokesperson for the city did not respond to a request for comment.

Catherine Shaffer joined Michigan Radio in 2014. She works in the newsroom and specializes in stories related to the life sciences, health, and technology. Catherine earned a bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry from Michigan State University and a Master’s from University of Michigan. Prior to Michigan Radio, Catherine has worked as a freelance writer, mainly in focusing on biotechnology and the pharmaceutical industry, since 2001. She is also an award-winning fiction writer. When not at work, Catherine enjoys being in the outdoors and practicing yoga.
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