Matrix Financial Literacy Trainer, Tracy Burress, and two participants of the DLBA buy back program

The Detroit Land Bank Authority (DLBA) “Occupied Buy Back Program” has been giving a second chance to Detroit residents who wish to own a home since 2015. Since then, hundreds of Detroiters have been able to purchase a home that would otherwise be unowned or abandoned.

Even during Coronavirus, Matrix is hosting virtual meetings with the DLBA and clients during this time for those interested. 

Since Matrix has been working with clients to educate and assist with home ownership for years including our Home Buyers Club 6-week educational course for prospecting home owners, it made sense that a partnership with the DLBA would further assist Detroit residents who want to buy the home they live in, but don’t know how. 

For example, in October of 2019, we shared the story of Matrix client, Mr. Albert Scott, who was living without running water for 2 years until United Way of Southeast Michigan shared his information with Matrix Human Services, where he began receiving financial education and workforce assistance from Ms. Javay Coleman, Financial Empowerment Coach at Matrix Human Services.

Read the story here or the image below.

Through the DLBA buy-back program, Ms. Coleman and Mr. Scott made sure he was able to meet the requirements needed to buy-back the home from the city. This required helping Mr. Scott secure employment to meet the $1000 down payment necessary to claim ownership. Other requirements of the program include having a previous history with the house, whether that means being a previous owner or tenant, having paid utilities for at least twelve months, can demonstrate they made significant improvements to the property, or a family member was the last owner on record before public-ownership.

Albert met the requirements and was able to buy the home that his aunt previously owned, as well as restore the water. 

Another example was Mr. James King, a 74 year-old retired man living off of social security disability. Having a close relationship with his sister who lived nearby, he would often visit her at the house she was renting. They both developed a close relationship with the owner, a lovely older woman who eventually became sick and was living in the hospital. After Jame’s sister moved out, the owner asked James to move in and look after the house.

Mr King stayed at the home for approximately 14 years after the Homeowner died. During that period, Mr. King has made several home improvements to the house. When he heard about the Detroit Land Bank- buyback program, he decided to inquire about the qualifications to buy the house. Mr. King attended a workshop at The Matrix Center to understand his finances. 


In May of 2019 he began the process to meet the qualifications of purchasing the house. That’s when Mr King came into The Matrix Center to get Financial Coaching to assist him in strategies to come up with the $1000 down to make him eligible to buy the house. After meeting Matrix Financial Coach, Mr. Cleophus George, they worked together to analyze the budget and came up with a plan to successful homeownership. He made the necessary home improvements to pass the property inspections and with the aid of United Way of Southeastern Michigan, saved his portion of  the required $1000 to buy the house.

As a result of Mr King’s hard work and persistency, 5 months later he closed on the house and is now the proud owner of the house he started out as a tenant in.

“It was a whole lot of stress off” – Mr. King

Now Matrix will be an official counseling partner for Detroit residents who want to purchase their home through the Detroit Land Bank buy-back program.


If you would like to make a donation to help us continue this program and other adult programs out of The Matrix Center – please visit the link below.