Travel Journal – Detroit

Jamie Schriner-Hooper (CEDAM Executive Director), Tiffany Lemieux-McKissic (CEDAM Manager of Membership and Communications), and Jessica AcMoody (CEDAM Office Manager) recently visited organizations in the Detroit area to learn about projects and the work going on in the community development industry.

Playground at Little Grace Village

Day one began with the Southwest Solutions “Solutions at Sunrise” fundraising breakfast.  This one-hour breakfast event highlighted the stories of people Southwest Solutions has served, and offered a great way to get an insider’s look into the programming of Southwest Solutions.

From there we traveled to downtown Pontiac to meet with Michelle Atwell (Director of Development) and Darin Weiss (Chief Operating Officer) at Grace Centers of Hope.  Michelle and Darin gave us a tour of the shelter and explained the extensive programs they offer to the homeless.  They also took us on a tour of Little Grace Village.  Consisting of nine homes on Seneca Street in Pontiac, Little Grace Village combines supportive services, safe and affordable housing, and neighborhood revitalization efforts for the graduates of the Two-Year Aftercare Program.  Grace Centers of Hope accommodates between 150-200 men, women, and children on any given night.

Next we traveled to Detroit to Neighborhood Service Organization (NSO) and met with Joe Heaphy (Vice President of Housing).   Joe told us about the myriad of programs offered by NSO including Emergency Telephone Services/Suicide Prevention Center, Gambling Treatment Program, Older Adult Services, Youth Initiatives Project, Housing Development, and Training Services (just to name a few).  He also told us about the NSO-Bell Building Revitalization project which will renovate the existing Bell Building in Detroit and turn it into residential and commercial space.  The residential space will house NSO’s clients and the commercial space will contain NSO staff.  We can’t wait to see the finished product!

Jessica AcMoody, Cathy Marshall, and Jamie Schriner-Hooper

We wrapped up the day with a visit to the Grandmont Rosedale Development Corporation (GRDC).  We met with Cathy Marks Marshall (Deputy Director) and she told us about all the programs going on at GRDC, including the farmer’s market, housing development, and commercial development happening in the Grandmont Rosedale neighborhoods.  Cathy then took us on a tour to show us the gorgeous houses and the beautification projects going on in the area.

On day two we met with Curtis Smith (Director of Housing Development) at Coalition on Temporary Shelter (COTS).  Curtis explained their programs, which provide services that enable people to achieve self-sufficiency and obtain quality affordable housing.  We spoke with one of COTS development partners about supportive housing projects COTS are developing in Detroit, and Curtis gave us a brief tour of the facilities.

We would like to thank everyone we visited for taking the time to show us all the exciting work they are doing in the Detroit area.  We will be back to visit more members and see the inspiring work going on in Southeast Michigan.