An important outreach pilot recently began in Detroit’s North End. Supported by DTE, the North End Outreach Pilot Program tasked Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency with reaching out to 31 hard-to-reach households in Detroit’s North End neighborhood. Wayne Metro staff sought to identify short and long-term household needs that have been barriers to financial stability through calls, texting, flyers, and door-to-door outreach.
Once individuals were engaged, De’Asia Brown, Wayne Metro Program Coordinator, completed a needs assessment and connected clients to different resources from restoring power, furnace/water heater replacement, or enrollment in programs such as the Water Residential Assistance Program (WRAP) or Homeowners Property Exemption (HOPE).
Brown supports the notion that the pilot assists in a way that is “client-centered” and assists individuals that are in need due to arrears. She also says that the pilot fills in knowledge gaps regarding the community’s lack of resources and takes a “case management” approach.
“I believe that the approach taken in this pilot helps build trust between clients and the Agency, and empowers clients with knowledge and connections to assist them in the future. This allows clients to receive more well-rounded assistance and allows Wayne Metro to address the underlying causes of the client’s needs.”
The outreach support made it possible to get in contact with residents like Maurice Monson, who previously was not aware that such assistance was available: “I had not heard about Wayne Metro prior to my experience in the Weatherization program. I’ve definitely benefited from working with Wayne Metro! If it weren’t for Wayne Metro, I wouldn’t have had help with the hole in my roof or my electric bill. The bills were piling up and we’d be in the dark right now.”
Individuals who participated in the North End pilot, such as Heather Nichols, were also impressed with how quickly outreach can turn into receiving assistance.
“I spoke with a caseworker from Human Services who told me to call 211, and they connected me with Wayne Metro. Someone came out to the house to do a Weatherization estimate, and Wayne Metro helped me get my utilities turned back on. They even worked with DTE to get my hot water heater installed! I also got my taxes done for free by Wayne Metro. Everyone has been responsive and helpful.”
Wayne Metro hopes to expand this project in other areas/neighborhoods.
For more information about this pilot program and the services Wayne Metro offers, click here to visit our Programs page, or contact our CONNECT Center at (313) 388-9799.