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Pope Francis Center in Detroit receives $7M in fight against homelessness

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Detroit’s Pope Francis Center receives $ 7 million from a California charity to help end chronic homelessness in the city.

The money comes from the Julia Burke Foundation, which the center announced on Thursday evening.

The California-based organization works with groups around the world to meet food and other needs of the population, and supports education and social justice programs.

The funds will be used for a short-term, or “bridge” housing complex to help tackle the city’s homelessness, the center said.

The contribution means the center raised more than $ 15 million for its fundraising goal of $ 22 million for the project.

“We are really humble at the incredible generosity of the Julia Burke Foundation,” said Father Tim McCabe SJ, executive director of the Pope Francis Center. “Your contribution of $ 7 million shows our strong support for our efforts to end chronic homelessness in Detroit.”

The center is the only day care center in Detroit that offers large-scale services to 200 people per day, according to a press release announcing the gift. The website offers two “home cooked” meals a day; Laundry and shower; rotating medical, dental, and legal clinics; and housing assistance five days a week.

McCabe has pledged to end chronic homelessness in Detroit by 2030. A 40-unit bridge accommodation is part of this plan, which the center says will include intensive medical, relief, psychological, addiction, social and on-call services. A cafeteria, gym, library, classrooms and health clinic are also planned on site. The staff also help guests with access to permanent living space solutions.

The foundation said the centre’s commitment to the poor in Detroit fueled the contribution.

“The Julia Burke Foundation invests in opportunities that enable people to live better lives,” said Jerry Burke, co-founder of the Julia Burke Foundation. “The more we learned about the Pope Francis Center and its commitment to the Detroit poor, the more we knew we wanted to be part of this transformation project that will improve the lives of so many people.”

An annual poll by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, conducted on one night in January 2020 weeks before the pandemic, found 1,589 people were homeless in Metro Detroit, including 351 under the age of 18. according to the HUD.

The results of homelessness from this 2020 survey in Michigan as a whole – 8,638 people – showed a 0.7% increase from 2019 and a nearly 70% decrease in homelessness since 2007, the agency said.

The report shows that most Michigan homeless, 88%, were in temporary or temporary shelters when the survey was conducted, while just over 1,000 people were unprotected.

According to the latest annual report by the Detroit Homeless Action Network, the total number of homeless people in the city was approximately 10,006 in 2019, compared to 10,744 in 2018.

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Dusty Kennedy