Multiply Justice

Archive for the tag “Detroit”

Justice reclaims the urban wasteland … in Detroit

detroit blightMultiplying justice in the city requires us to attack the problem of urban blight. Evil haunts abandoned blocks of decaying buildings — and victimizes helpless souls too poor to flee the war zone.

As the article below notes, “blight creates an apocalyptic cityscape, the perfect setting for other social woes — a place where broken-windows theory is no longer hypothetical. It is a literal embodiment of collapsing communities. And when property is allowed to deteriorate so dramatically, a culture arises in which property rights are trampled. Thieves and addicts strip the buildings of metals, sometimes electrocuting themselves in the process. Blighted buildings offer an ideal refuge for drug dealers, pimps, and criminals on the run.”

Summarizing: In Detroit’s 139 square miles, for example, the Dangerous Building Inventory lists 38,779 structures. The city’s bureaucracy has failed to address the problem and continually thwarts attempts to tear down abandoned buildings. Innovative partnerships, however, like Detroit’s Blight Authority, are arising from private, artistic, and charitable sectors and demonstrating that free-market principles can succeed where government fails.

For example, the article says, Tyree Guyton’s Heidelberg Project uses discarded objects and paint to transform abandoned buildings into open-air art installations. Bill Pulte, whose grandfather founded Pulte Homes, organized a massive, privately funded demolition effort that knocked down ten blocks of blighted houses in ten days and served as the launching point for the Detroit Blight Authority, a nonprofit group working alongside the mayor’s office, the Kresge Foundation, DTE Energy, Michigan Caterpillar, and others to launch the most ambitious anti-blight effort Detroit has ever seen.

Jillian Kay Melchior’s article concludes: “The Blight Authority is a source of hope in an otherwise troubling urban setting. If it succeeds, this private effort may change not only Detroit’s physical landscape but also its political one. Detroit’s blight problem is a tangible lesson about the limits of government. Like other efforts before it, the Blight Authority demonstrates that real power for change lies with private citizens who understand those limits — and then get to work themselves.”

Read this persuasive, encouraging article by clicking here.
Get involved with reclaiming the city through Urban Onramps or The Rebuild Initiative.

The Great Physicians of Detroit

In the heart of a failing city, health care is a critical need — and a strategic opportunity for God’s people to show, in word and deed, the Father’s great love for his children. Covenant Community Care, the only faith-based, federally funded health center in Michigan, is doing just that in Detroit.

detroit cccStefanie A. Bohde reports for CT’s This Is Our City:

Like most players on Detroit’s economic stage, Covenant Community Care (CCC) arose out of community demand. Across Detroit neighborhoods, from burgeoning Midtown to the West Village Historic District, entrepreneurs rise to meet the needs and desires of their consumer base. They open restaurants and decorate storefronts, money exchanging hands to pay for lattes or handmade goods.

But what happens when most of your customers can’t pay?

That was the dilemma facing Kathy Kleinert, DO, in 1999. After one Sunday service at Messiah Church in Southwest Detroit, the general practitioner noted to Pastor Bob Hoey her growing concerns about their surrounding neighbors. Kleinert had made house calls and even treated people in the street, and was especially conscious of those without insurance, all the while ignoring their inability to pay and poor hygiene. She always shared Christ, praying for clients and trying to point them to a local church. As she became aware of people without necessary medical care, she became increasingly driven to provide it. And she told Hoey that she’d treat all people, regardless of their ability to pay.

Thus Kleinert became the founding physician of one of Detroit’s largest health clinics operating on small co-pays and large amounts of grace.

“We try to treat each client as if they are Christ, regardless of their ability to pay,” says Hoey, co-founder of CCC and pastor of Messiah Church (part of the Evangelical Covenant denomination) for 18 years.

Opening in 1999, CCC is the only faith-based, federally funded health center in the state of Michigan. Although there are many free faith-based clinics throughout the state, they tend to be much smaller and volunteer-run. By contrast, all of CCC’s doctors and dentists are employed. And with 100 employees, the clinic has doubled in size every two years. CCC serves approximately 10,000 Detroiters annually in a city with approximately 200,000 residents who lack adequate health care.

“There’s a tremendous need in the community, and we want to meet our consumer demand, caring for as many people who come in,” said Paul Propson, CCC’s executive director. “If we could hire more doctors now, we’d see more people today. A lot of people are waiting to be seen.” …

CCC’s mission statement—”To show and share the love of God, as seen in the Good News of Jesus Christ, by providing integrated, affordable and quality health care to those who need it most”—is embossed in large letters behind the front desk. CCC staff member Rosie Verde Rios says patients frequently read the words, nodding to themselves, and comment to her after their appointment that they notice the difference.

“Our doctors are Covenant Community Care’s greatest strength. They most perfectly demonstrate the Christian witness,” says Paul Propson, CCC’s executive director. “They take time every day to model Jesus’ love for people.”

Best told me of a patient who was referred to CCC after being released from the hospital after suffering a heart attack. The staff worked with the patient to qualify for Medicaid, but were ultimately unable to secure it. Through several different avenues, their staff was able to get this patient all of his medicine free of charge, medicine that ordinarily would have totaled upward of $500.

“God has blessed our organization with tremendous gifts—financial gifts and blessings, as well as fulfilling needs. He’s been our provider,” said Propson. “We attribute our success in caring for people in God’s foundational love for Detroit. God loves Detroit. He’s looking for people to be his hands and feet to care for those he loves.”

At that, Propson paused for a second, mulling the words over a bit. “If we had another name for CCC, it would be God Loves Detroit Health Center.”

Read the full text of this excellent article by clicking here.

Learn more about the ministry of Covenant Community Care by clicking here.

Want to use your healthcare skills to help people in need? Click here.

9-year-old’s lemonade stand making a difference in Detroit

Scot McKnight relays the story at Jesus Creed:

Joshua Smith is a 9-year-old boy who gets things done. His home city of Detroit is currently suffering from serious financial hardship, preventing it from providing some basic services, like maintaining the city’s parks. Frustrated with being unable to play due to the amount of rubbish on the ground, Joshua decided to take things into his own hands. He set up a lemonade stand and started selling organic lemonade, fruit punch, water and popcorn in his Russell Woods neighborhood. In just one week, he has raised $3,000 for the city’s parks!

Over the past week, the young entrepreneur has been showered with awards and accolades for his outstanding achievement. In fact, last Friday the Rosa Parks Scholarship Foundation announced that when Joshua graduates high school, it will give him a $2,000 scholarship, as long as he graduates with a GPA of at least 2.5. Also flocking to Joshua’s cause is a volunteer group called the Detroit Mower Gang, who came into Joshua’s neighborhood Friday and mowed the two parks closest to his home with eight tractors and a dozen volunteers.

Three members of the University of Michigan basketball team also visited Joshua, giving him signed U-M swag and $20 for his cause. ”Seeing a 9-year-old try to make a difference in the city and clean up the parks and make the city look like a better place, it says a lot about the kid and the maturity he has at an early age,” said 6 foot 8 inch centre Jordan Morgan.

As for Joshua himself? It’s seems he is just as humble as he is resourceful: “I’m just getting a lot of support, and that makes me feel good,” he told the Detroit Free Press.

Read more here.

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