Detroit’s Community Health Corps moving forward

A nearly two-year-old program that set out to “revolutionize“How Detroit Helps Troubled Residents” has served nearly 5,000 people so far.

Why is this important: There has been a lot of piecemeal effort to help low-income Detroiters succeed in a city that sits in a eviction crisis and has a poverty rate of 33%.

  • The Community Health Corps program aims for a more holistic approach: Identifying a family and connect them to all resources they need – whether it’s Meijer gift cards, help paying for utilities, or finding housing or jobs.

The last: The corps has a new executive director since last month, Gregory Anderson, previously deputy director of administrative services at CHC.

How it works: The body enrolls households primarily through referrals from city departments, according to Anderson. Detroit residents need to “live significantly below the federal poverty level whose basic needs have been further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” an ARPA says. performance report.

  • It assigns staff to help customers navigate the services offered by 122 partner organizations. Additionally, it can use its own funding if clients do not qualify for outside assistance.
  • To note : About 212,000 Detroiters lived below the poverty line — an income of $26,200 for a family of four — in 2020, according to census estimates.

By the numbers: The city created the CHC in 2020 with $1.4 million in federal COVID-19 recovery dollars. The CHC then obtained $15 million last year thanks to the American Rescue Plan Act funds. Additionally, there is $5.2 million from the CDC Foundation.

  • The big ARPA boost was used to increase the number of employees from 32 to 52.
  • The program has served 4,800 residents so far and is on track for 14,000 over its three-year funding term for ARPA Dollars, Anderson told Axios.
  • Demand has been high, with the CHC having at one point accumulated a waiting list of almost 600 people.

What they say : “When you think of all the programs that exist to help people in Detroit, they’re like bricks, but often people fall through the cracks…so (this program is) the glue between the bricks,” said said Abdul El-Sayed, a public health expert and former Detroit health director, tells Axios.

Enlarge: Community service provider Wayne Metro and CHC are in talks to make permanent a housing relocation pilot project serving displaced people, Michele Robinson, executive director of Wayne Metro’s Green and Healthy Homes, told Axios.

Reality check: CHC helps individuals, but it doesn’t necessarily address the “root causes of poverty and racism in Detroit,” Peter Hammer, director of Wayne State’s civil rights center and expert on economic and social issues, told Axios. local.

To note : Individuals interested in seeking assistance from the CHC are asked to contact their district chief.

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