Debt Collection and the Poor

  • Debtors’ prison: ACLU report details ‘criminalization of private debt’, By Jon Schuppe, February 21, 2018, NBC News: “Americans’ reliance on household debt ─ and poor people’s struggles to pay it off ─ has fueled a collection industry that forces many of them into jail, a practice that critics call a misuse of the criminal justice system…”
  • How Chicago ticket debt sends black motorists into bankruptcy, By Melissa Sanchez and Sandhya Kambhampati, February 27, 2018, ProPublica: “By last summer, Laqueanda Reneau felt like she had finally gotten her life on track. A single mother who had gotten pregnant in high school, she supported her family with a series of jobs at coffee shops, restaurants and clothing stores until she landed a position she loved as a community organizer on Chicago’s West Side. At the same time, she was working her way toward a degree in public health at DePaul University. But one large barrier stood in her way: $6,700 in unpaid tickets, late fines and impound fees…”

Foreclosures and Tax Sales – Detroit

Detroit needs residents, but sends some packing: By Monica Davey, June 26, 2014, New York Times: “Ronald Ford Jr. has watched neighbors move away and brick houses on his family’s block crumble to nothing, but he says he wants to stay put and give a chance to city leaders who now promise a renaissance. ‘I’d like to try to go with the new Detroit if that’s really coming,’ Mr. Ford, 49, said, standing outside the house on the city’s east side that he describes as precious, ‘like a family heirloom.’ Yet as Mike Duggan, the mayor of the nation’s largest bankrupt city, pledges to stem the flood of departures that have crippled Detroit and to begin increasing the city’s population for the first time in decades, Mr. Ford is on the verge of losing his family’s house. So are tens of thousands of others here who failed to pay their property taxes. In a city that desperately needs to hold onto residents, there is a virtual pipeline out. At least 70,000 foreclosures have taken place since 2009 because of delinquent property taxes. . .”