Helping Residents Put Down Roots

Mayra Torres

When Mayra Torres received a letter from her new landlord, it was her first notice that her house had been sold. Worried, she reached out to Raquel Garcia. As Global Detroit’s director of housing and special projects, Raquel serves as an invaluable resource to her Southwest Detroit neighbors, connecting them to community resources and helping them navigate often-confusing processes.

Through a county records search, Raquel verified that Mayra’s house had been sold in the Wayne County tax foreclosure auction. The new owner planned to increase rent, so Mayra decided to purchase a home, helping her avoid future rent increases and deepen her roots in the community where she owns a business and her children attend school. Raquel then helped Mayra, a Spanish speaker, navigate the process to buy a home through the Detroit Land Bank. Just over a year ago, Mayra became a proud Detroit homeowner.

Since 2014, Global Detroit has helped Southwest Detroit residents purchase more than 50 vacant homes through the Detroit Land Bank and Wayne County tax auction, enabling them to build capital and make lasting investments in their neighborhoods. This effort is part of our Opportunity Neighborhoods work, which connects immigrants and immigrant families with the resources they need to put down roots and thrive here in Detroit.

Since moving into her new home, Mayra and her husband have put on a new roof, rebricked a crumbling porch and refurbished their floors. “The emotion of being a homeowner is very deep,” says Mayra. “We begin to dream as a family about how we will fix our house up.”

Mayra has gone on to purchase another home–the very one she once rented–while also expanding her business, Lotus Essences. “I feel that my purpose here is deeply intertwined with Detroit’s resurgence,” she says. “My growth is like watching Detroit grow. I feel deeply connected to this city.”

Mayra Torres in front of house