After four purposeful years, The Tricycle Collective has formally dissolved as an organization. We have raised and donated over $120,000 to families across Detroit fighting to stay in their homes. We have knocked on doors, created educational resources, hosted truly incredible story-telling events where survivors of foreclosure bore witness to their experiences, and prioritized funding for those who most needed it. We are deeply proud and honored to have played a role in the advocacy for Detroit’s neighborhoods in the face of extreme obstacles.
Tricycle Collective began in 2014 as a desperate fundraiser seeking to intervene upon preventable tragedies taking place in homes across Detroit. These houses were for sale in that year’s foreclosure auction, and each bore the iconic symbol of a tricycle (or some other children’s toy) in the front yard, identifying them as not just houses but homes, and not just homes but homes to young children. That first year, we raised $5,500, and we funded ( or partially funded ) the purchase of 9 families’ homes in the tax foreclosure auction.
The following year, we returned to the families whose homes had been saved and asked them to reach out to their neighbors. We raised and donated just shy of $20,000 to help families buy back their homes.
Each year, we expanded our efforts and our mission, growing to a broader network of supporters and families working to save their homes from tax foreclosure. We have witnessed profound changes in our neighborhoods, in public recognition of this issue, and in the nature of the foreclosure crisis.
One important change is the number of occupied homes that face the foreclosure auction each year. Housing advocates have championed a new way to divert many homes from the auction. And, while far too many homes continue to be destabilized by the auction, the truth that got Tricycle Collective started–that a little bit of money could be the difference in saving or losing a home–is not so true anymore. Auction prices have skyrocketed, and it is all but useless as a tool to assist someone in buying or keeping their homes.
In 2018, for the first time, Tricycle Collective donated to support housing placement for those facing homelessness rather than assisting with purchasing homes. It was also the first year that we did not host our September fundraiser or storytelling event. The funds we have raised are truly as needed as ever, but the mechanism for disbursing them has changed, and so have our roles in service to the cause of housing justice.
It should be noted that almost all of the funds Tricycle has raised over the years have been disbursed through United Community Housing Coalition (UCHC), because they were responsible for “saving” aka purchasing the home s from auction on behalf of our Tricycle families. UCHC, in fact, was always the place that we referred residents of foreclosed homes for support. Much of why we can close as an organization with a clear conscience is that UCHC continues this work .
Now more than ever, UCHC needs support with fundraising as they try to close their funding gap. We encourage you to continue your support of Tricycle Collective by donating directly to UCHC. If you wish to donate to help a family in need of housing support, whether tax foreclosure or homelessness prevention or housing placement, please give to UCHC. Designate your gift to the “Good Neighbor Fund” to ensure it will go directly to families with housing needs.
You can donate to UCHC at http://www.uchcdetroit.org/donate.
To all who have been a part of our work to Keep Detroit at Home, we sincerely thank you.
The Tricycle Collective
Contact information and recent update for the members of The Tricycle Collective is below:
Michele Oberholtzer – Michele also works at United Community Housing Coalition as the director of the Tax Foreclosure Prevention Project. In the last two years, her team has succeeded in purchasing 600 foreclosed homes on behalf of their residents and are in the process of selling them back for a low price to create and retain homeownership. Michele ran for State Representative of her district this year, but was not elected so she is happily continuing her work on the ground here in Detroit! For information on volunteering or resources for residents, contact her at
Mahala Clayton – Mahala is working with community development crowdfunding at Patronicity, they specialize in public placemaking through crowdgranting match programs with state entities. Tricycle Collective has informed her understanding of housing justice and policy and she will continue to support activism in Detroit through rallies and network gatherings.
Margo Dalal – Margo is now an MSW from the University of Michigan. She is the co-founder and Executive Director of the Detroit Community Wealth Fund, a non-extractive loan fund that develops worker-owned businesses in Detroit. She continues to lead the Detroit Kite Festival, now in its third year. Margo remains supportive to housing justice in her role as a board member of UCHC. You may contact her at
Nfr Esters – I am very empowered and secure. Since I have been with Tricycle Collective I have developed and grown, I have gone on to open a small community center, The Nest, through these experiences and canvassing and learning what is needed in the neighborhood. Through the TC I have a lot of experience I would not have had with speaking about tax foreclosure, being a part of documentaries, I met a lot of people who care
Katie Hearn – Katie remains committed to building awareness, relationships, and connections with justice-oriented organizations in Detroit. She spends most of her time as a community technologist, either with the Detroit Community Technology Project where she works as the IT Manager for the Equitable Internet Initiative, with the Detroit Digital Justice Coalition, or with the GO Data Advisory Commission for the City of Detroit’s open data portal. To talk tech, community benefits, kite flying and beyond, email .
Alexa Eisenberg – Alexa is a doctoral candidate at the University of Michigan. She is a board member at UCHC, a housing justice liaison with Detroit Jews for Justice, and a member of the Coalition to End Unconstitutional Tax Foreclosures. Through her research and organizing activities, Alexa continues to advocate for policy change that can sustainably prevent tax foreclosure. You may contact her at
Erika Linenfelser now works for the City of Detroit’s Planning and Development Department where she supports neighborhood development through transportation and mobility planning. She recently bought her first home and is rehabbing it with her now husband! Occasionally, she writes about housing and is growing her design practice, Studio M + E. You may contact her at:
Meghan Strickland – Meghan now works at the United Community Housing Coalition as a full time tax foreclosure prevention counselor, while she also goes to school to complete a Master’s of Divinity degree. She is grateful to continue to carry on the mission and spirit of Tricycle Collective in her daily work as a counselor and an advocate. You may contact her at
Rachael Baker – Rachael works to enable the dissolution of eviction, foreclosure, and property relations that perpetuate racial inequality as a social scientist, urban farmer, rabble-rouser and advocate.