Moving Detroit forward through faith

Detroit Mayor Michael Duggan and the City of Detroit’s Office of Faith-Based Affairs held a one-day conference addressing the importance of strengthening the partnership between city and faith-based organizations.
With nearly 200 faith leaders and clergy attending this year’s Faith-Based Summit, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan provided vital information on important city services to be shared with their congregations and surrounding community, maximizing the impact city programs have on the lives of city residents.
“The City of Detroit offers an array of services and great programs for our residents, however, they can’t truly be effective unless people know about them and how to access them,” Duggan said.
The mayor and other city officials addressed efforts to curb homelessness, job re-entry for returning citizens to reduce recidivism, aging with dignity, community policing, grant writing and fund development, the Affordable Care Act and more.
“When I get up every morning I think about what we can do to make the city’s comeback include everybody,” Duggan said. “And of course, the faith-based community has been in the business of including everybody in this town since its inception.”
redefining pulpit-story imageDuggan shared his vision on “moving Detroit forward” through what he calls a “natural partnership” between the city and faith-based organizations with expanding his summer jobs program.
Grow Detroit’s Young Talent, a citywide summer jobs program that employs young adults between the ages of 14 and 24, put to work 5,600 young people this past summer — that’s 3,100 more youth employed than in 2014, its inception year. But Duggan has a goal to employ 8,000 young people in the summer of 2016.
This past summer Duggan said that he believes one of the reasons why the homicide rate dropped dramatically this year is a result of employing those 5,600 young people.
“I can’t prove this in the way social scientist would accept, but this is what I believe,” Duggan said. “When we put young people to work it is really difficult for them to be getting in trouble at 2 a.m. when they have to be at work at 8 a.m. I think the way to deal with violence is to put people in jobs.”
The Downtown Detroit Partnership is leading the effort to engage local companies in the program and has hired Edward Duggan — son of Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan — as chief recruitment officer.
Mayor Duggan is seeking the participation of the faith-based community in the summer youth jobs program and will match up to $850 to employ youth next summer for six weeks. He also asked to encourage the youth in their ministries to enroll in the program via the Grow Detroit’s Young Talent’s website.
“We’re about creating opportunities for the rest of their lives,” Duggan said.
The mayor also shared the work of Detroit’s Ryan Correctional Facility, a detention center for parole violators that offers job training during their prison sentence preparing them for job re-entry upon leaving prison. He also discussed Motor City Match, a program launched this summer for new and expanding small businesses that matches entrepreneurs with real estate, financial aid and technical assistance.
“We have hard-working entrepreneurial people who may not have traditional education but they are very smart and resourceful and can succeed in business,” Duggan said. “So let’s give them a path to succeed. That’s how you build a city that includes everybody.”
Robert Listenbee, administrator for the U.S. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, was the keynote speaker for this one-conference. Listenbee addressed commercial exploitation of children; sexual violence and the trauma experienced by victims; and addressed victimized offenders.
Other presenters were: Antoine M. Garibaldi, University of Detroit Mercy president; Paul Bridgewater, president and CEO of Detroit Area Agency on Aging; Pamela Moore, president and CEO of Detroit Employment Solutions Corp.; Arthur Jemison, director of City of Detroit Housing & Revitalization Department; Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, director of Detroit Health Department; Krysta Pate, Detroit Land Bank Authority disposition manager; Todd Bettison, Detroit Police commander; Brian Fountain, Detroit Police investigator; Danielle Waddell, federal project officer for the Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration.
Terra DeFoe, director of the Mayor’s Office of Faith-Based Affairs, emphasized that Detroit residents should work closely with their respective district managers.
DeFoe said Mayor Duggan has commissioned the city’s seven district managers, who serve as liaisons between their respective districts and the mayor’s office, with the task of not only addressing blight in neighborhoods but in alleviating other concerns.
“Because the district managers meet with the mayor every week, they have access to city directors and different up-lines within the administration,” DeFoe said.
Contact Jason Flowers at or at (313) 963-5522

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