Neighborhood Service Organization [NSO], Detroit

During the summer months of 2014, I was privileged to intern with Neighborhood Service Organization in Detroit. As a very large and established agency with many different units supporting a variety of needs, I was able to learn about the complex ecosystem barriers that Detroit communities face.

Although about 60% of services that NSO provides for older adults, much of NSO's work centers around Detroit's chronic homelessness. The Tumaini Center, located on MLK & Third, is the heart of the homeless recovery services that NSO offers. Open 24 hours, consumers facing both acute and chronic homelessness can wash their clothes, receive a warm meal, and meet with case managers. Unique to NSO, The Road Home is a mobile outreach team comprised of mental health and substance abuse professionals and key leader, Ramses who knows the history and community members unlike any other. Although I was unable to ride in the van with the team, I got to listen to stories describing the vitality this team plays.  

The Bell Building and Supportive Housing services use housing first initiatives to get people facing homelessness into homes with on-site services such as life skills and job training. Since many people who are homeless also suffer from mental illness and substance abuse, housing first initiatives provide permanent solutions.      

The photos below were taken during the annual Harper Gratiot Multi-Service Center Community Festival where I coordinated volunteers, managed the petting zoo, and filled in any gaps. At the festival, service providers and program assistants set up outreach-booths to connect with neighbors to share health, financial, community resources, and more to party-goers.