Program to bring help to Detroit’s poorest neighborhoods
Detroit — Some of southeast Detroit’s most impoverished neighborhoods will get a helping hand beginning Friday with the kickoff of an initiative aimed at stemming violence and providing resources.
The “Occupy the Corner” effort, spearheaded by District 5 City Councilwoman Mary Sheffield, is modeled after a project Sheffield observed last year while in New York.
“I wanted to come back here and continue to engage in the high-crime and impoverished areas of our district,” she said. “My hope is that it will spread throughout the entire city.”
Sheffield will be joined by Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence, the National Action Network’s Dominique Sharpton and representatives from multiple aid organizations at the 7 p.m. program outside New Bethel Baptist Church at Linwood and Pingree.
The occupy program links residents with job training and health care services, utility and housing assistance, and legal help with clearing criminal records in an effort to address the root causes of violence in the city.
It was first deployed late last fall in a handful of neighborhoods within Sheffield’s district.
“There are a lot of very helpful resources available to the community, but in order to take full advantage of them, people have to know about them,” Duggan said in a released statement. “Through her Occupy the Corner-Detroit initiative, Councilmember Sheffield is showing how committed she is to helping the residents of District 5 by literally going door-to-door to bring her constituents this important information. We must all stand united against violence in our community.”
The movement is gaining traction in other cities nationally, including Baltimore and New Jersey.
“Occupy the Corner helps to begin a cycle of stronger community engagement that will thereby eliminate violence and sustain an active approach to solutions, all the while discussing tangible ways to curb the violence in our communities,” Sharpton, National Action Network’s director of membership, said in a statement.
Detroit’s occupy effort will continue in other areas of District 5 every other Friday throughout the summer.
For information, call (313) 224-4505.