DevWatch Advisory Alert – Questioning the $500,000 Qfund

DevWatch Advisory Alert – Questioning the $500,000 Qfund

 “I can’t believe what you say,

because I see what you do.”

James Baldwin

 

November 16, 2017

Detroit People’s Platform

DevWatch Advisory Alert

What: Quicken Loans Community Investment Fund’s Neighbor to Neighbor Tax Foreclosure Prevention Outreach (We’ve been calling it the ‘Qfund’)

Where: In neighborhoods throughout Detroit.

When: Now, Qfund is  currently reaching out to community groups to partner in the foreclosure prevention program

Why: The Qfund says they are doing this to connect people to community resources and prevent home foreclosures.

How: The Quicken Loans Community Investment Fund (Qfund) is a $500,000 fund to partner with neighborhood organizations who agree to collect data through survey questions. Organizations will receive funding based on the number of households they agree to survey. Funds will be made available to pay individuals to collect survey data from their neighbors.  Individuals who collect the survey data will enter the data into their own smartphone with an app that will upload survey answers directly to Loveland Technologies database. Loveland Technologies is an online data company that creates software and applications about land parcels and property ownership.

Critical Questions

What is the purpose of this program?

A great deal of information about these properties is already available online through Loveland’s website and the Wayne County Tax Foreclosure auction site. Why is more data needed?

What information will be collected from neighbors who participate in the survey? In exchange for getting information to help prevent foreclosure of their home, will those who take this survey be required to turn over personal household and financial information?

Some groups have complained that the type of information that will be collected on the survey has not been shared. We recommend that potential community partners demand to see the survey questions and know the kind of information you will be collecting from your neighbors.

How many Households is the Qfund attempting to collect data from? Who will determine which households will receive assistance once the information has been turned over to the Qfund?

What other assistance programs will be made available and what ‘other services will be offered to those who participate in the survey?

Once the the data is collected, who decides who owns the data and who will be able to use the data in the future. What will happen to all the data that is being collected?

Groups have reported that there are conflicting messages between program flyers and the actual contract agreements community partners are asked to sign in order to get the funding.  The flyers state that any participating organization will have access  to the data collected. We encourage potential community partners to pay close attention to what is said about who owns and retains access to the data and to negotiate terms around their own use and ownership of the data they are collecting.

We recommend that potential community partners pay close attention to the penalties for non-compliance and what constitutes non-compliance in the agreement.

While many details about this program are still being researched, these and other questions need to be answered. Detroit People’s Platform encourages community groups to ask the tough questions and get REAL answers before signing on to the Qfund agreement.