Neighborhood Network Launched

Nine nonprofit agencies led by Focus: HOPE have been selected to pilot United Way for Southeastern Michigan’s (UWSEM’s) Neighborhood Network investment strategy. The pilot seeks to move individuals and families from crisis mode to self-sufficiency by maximizing the impact of existing nonprofit services, bundling a wide range of services provided by non-profits, government agencies, and for-profit entities in a place-based approach. The Network is part of a larger initiative, the HOPE Village Initiative, which is concentrated on transforming the community surrounding the Focus: HOPE’s Oakman Boulevard campus.

"The Neighborhood Network will weave together a wide range of services for residents in our community as we help to move them from dependency to self-reliance," said Focus: HOPE CEO William F. Jones, Jr. "This is a 'first' for our neighborhood and one that shows great promise. It enables Focus: HOPE to leverage our national leadership in workforce development, education, and food programs to benefit the community. By working together with our partners along Oakman Boulevard, and doing what each of us does best, we will help our neighbors get the services and skills they need to become independent and financially secure."

The HOPE Village Initiative service area encompasses 100 blocks in the heart of Detroit. Over the past five years, over $25 million has been invested in the neighborhood for new or renovated housing, business development, façade improvements, blight removal, home repairs and more. The initiative’s goal is to ensure that 100 percent of the residents in the area are educated, economically self-sufficient, and living in a safe and supportive environment by 2031. UWSEM’s funding for the Neighborhood Network program will provide families in the area with access to basic needs and pathways to jobs.

“United Way believes that in order to reach its goal of making greater Detroit one of the top five places in which to live and work by 2030, individuals and families must have the ability to be self-sufficient, said Dona Ponepinto, Vice President of Community Investments, Basic Needs & Financial Stability, United Way for Southeastern Michigan.

“To propel our region forward, we must create pathways for vulnerable individuals and families to be helped in times of need and become empowered with the mindset that they can make the future be better than the past,” she stated. “To that end, we are supporting results-oriented projects, programs and supportive services that are delivered to individuals and families using an approach that provides access to basic resources, assistance in navigating the safety net to access additional resources, and the support to move along the continuum towards self-sufficiency and financial stability.”

Partners in the Neighborhood Network will develop a shared data collection system, engagement strategy, evaluation process and set of indicators of success for individuals, families and the neighborhood. Partner agencies are already located in or providing significant services in the target area: Accounting Aid Society, Lutheran Child and Family Service of Michigan, Neighborhood Service Organization, Parkman Branch of the Detroit Public Library, New Paradigm Glazer Elementary, Joy Preparatory Academy, Michigan State University – Extension, and Youthville-Detroit. Wayne State University School of Social Work is providing consulting and evaluation services for the project.