Steve Bancroft, executive director of the Detroit Office of Foreclosure and Prevention, announced his impending departure from the agency on May 13, prompting a flurry of supportive e-mails from housing industry professionals who credit Bancroft for ambitiously attacking Detroit's urban blight. Peter Monroe, president and CEO of National Real Estate Venture, responded to Bancroft's departure e-mail saying,"You are a fine person who will always find a way to give back. I know how hard you struggled to save homeowners from foreclosure under impossible conditions. But you always persevered. Frankly, I am alarmed that the City of Detroit is losing such an asset as you." Bancroft, who joined the agency three years ago, spearheaded programs that received praise for simultaneously trying to help distressed homeowners, banks with too many assets on their hands and Detroit neighborhoods riddled with foreclosures. And keeping with his desire to head-up new initiatives, Bancroft is leaving to lead a start-up manufacturer of a pain topical. Under Bancroft's leadership, the department created the Retaining Occupancy on Foreclosure, or ROOF pilot program, which allows some troubled property owners to stay in their homes up to three months after a foreclosure. In that period of time, the homeowner is required to pay for utilities, heat, water and electricity, while also paying a monthly fee. If the home is not sold by the end of the three-month period, an option to renew is available. A representative for the agency said Bancroft's departure will not impact the pilot phase of the program and plans are still underway to officially launch ROOF into a full-scale relief program in the near future. Bancroft focused much of his foreclosure efforts around the idea that financial firms and cities are not dealing with singular property assets, but with neighborhoods that are a key part of Detroit's urban renewal efforts. In a departing e-mail to colleagues and friends, Bancroft wrote, "I would like to keep my hands in the housing and finance field I have been involved with for the last three years, as I feel unfulfilled in that we didn't get done all we could do to resolve this crisis." Write to: Kerri Panchuk