Arleen is a no-nonsense woman with a softness towards children and a lot of dreams for herself and her house. Denise (Miss Niecy) lives across the street and it was her son who I left a note with that led to both families becoming part of The Tricycle Collective.
Arleen lost her house in auction when the price soared to $41,000, but, with the help of The Collective, she successfully bought another home (unoccupied) in Highland Park later in the auction. This is a woman who never gives up.
I’ve only been here 4 years. My grandson was born March 30, 2010 and we moved in the very next week. “We” is my daughter, who is 24, my son who is now 12, my niece, I had her since she was 12, she’s 21 now, and all the kids I do day care for.
What happened was that I was getting the house from someone. I was renting with option to buy, trying to get a land contract for the house. All repairs I did, other than he fixed the patio when they broke in. Furnace repairs, all of that, he never did anything- but that’s ok, that was the agreement.
I kept getting the foreclosure notices but he told me “don’t worry about it.” He was in court to get the taxes resolved so he told me the issue was on hold. He was going to court because the taxes were so high. So we got it assessed back in July of 2012.
I was waiting to buy it until the tax issue was resolved.
I believed him, I’ve never had a problem with him. I think whatever he was going through with the City of Detroit and the finances, they probably don’t him “don’t worry about it” because it was active in court.
So I was steady paying, steady paying my rent. I did get a little behind but back in August I just gave him $1600 to catch back up.
And then I went downtown to Monroe Street, I went with someone else but I just asked them about this property because I wanted to make sure. And that’s when I found out it was foreclosED, past tense. And that was right after I had given him the last payment.
It was a hard pill to swallow.
I have an Owner Operated licensed childcare center. I’ve been licensed for Day Care for 12 years, just got the house licensed, just completed my foster care license. I’m licensed for one child but I don’t have a foster child yet.
I am not stopping until I have my pHd. I’m on my bachelors’ right now, I’m going straight for my master’s and then on. Everybody is telling me “oh you’re graduating in the spring, are you gonna walk?” No I’m not. That doesn’t impress me, you know? I want to aim higher. I’m pursuing my degrees in Early Childhood Development and Child Psychology, and Social Work.
The foster child work is just to help another child, another family. To be that impact that, maybe, they need and enhance what they may not have. That’s not what I want to do long term.
My long-term vision is to have a state-of-the-art childcare center, maybe something by the freeway where every parent can get to it going to and from work. I’m gonna do it that way. But I’ll be the administration I wont be in the classroom any longer. That’s my goal.
I had to do a lot of work to get the house in a condition to be approved. I just found a wonderful guy who is coming in to run the ductwork in the house. I finally found someone who really knows what they’re doing- I had a 1 month gas bill of $4,000. Astronomical. And we got a guy who can do the insulation for $1700. But again, you don’t want to go and pay all that money for someone else to go buy your house.
You do what you do to make plans, to invest. Right now I’m on hold.
I think a lot of the people they see the homes over here and how beautiful they are but they don’t realize how much work they are to keep up. They are beautiful but they are hard to maintain. It’s been an up and down battle. I thank God for friends who come together and say “I got a pack of chicken, let’s cook some beans, let’s cook together.”
It’s hard to find a house that you can afford to live in and that you want to be there. I have built a network in this neighborhood. They love the convenience of having a licensed childcare provider nearby. Actually these are Miss Niecy’s children, her children.
And it’s social too. Definitely. The neighbors we celebrate birthdays together, go to concerts, plays, we do a lot of things. And the kids play together, they interact together. My son is to the age where we can all sit on the porch and he can sit and watch them.
I know I can maintain the house once I get it. Actually, right before this, I was getting ready to get the back porch done. Niecy, she will help me with that, she does the physical stuff. And she’ll get her family too and they’ll help knock it down.
If someone outbids me, at that point, I gotta make provisions. I don’t have a plan B right now. I wouldn’t be homeless, I would go with family, put my stuff in storage, figure it out. You know what I’m saying, that’s what grown-up people do, you figure it out.
Basically that’s it. It’s just a mother trying to make it- trying to be a good provider for my children, trying to raise them in a positive environment.
To read more stories of families on the front lines of foreclosure, visit the testimonials page.