HandUp is excited to announce the launch of HandUp Detroit: a new collaborative approach to addressing homelessness in metro Detroit.
Two years ago, we got an email from the team at South Oakland Shelter (SOS), a housing-focused shelter network serving Oakland County and Detroit. As SOS’s Jenny Poma shares, “We were in the process of writing a grant to build something like HandUp ourselves when we stumbled on their website. We asked ourselves the question, ‘Could we do it better?’ and the answer was a resounding no. We immediately jumped on the opportunity to become HandUp’s first midwest partner.”
Today, SOS has raised over $75,000 on HandUp supporting over 200 individuals experiencing homelessness with basic needs from bus passes to furniture for new housing units to work boots for construction jobs. Not long after SOS, both Coalition on Temporary Shelter (COTS) and Neighborhood Services Organization (NSO), two highly reputable shelters and human service agencies, joined the platform and are starting to see similar success.
What has made HandUp so useful to these organizations? In talking with each of them, one of the keys has been HandUp’s flexibility and ability to meet specific needs for their clients. Nicole Carbonari, COTS’s Impact Partner Coordinator, said “HandUp provides a unique opportunity for parents at COTS to leverage their own network and the broader community to assist with specific financial goals that support their path to self-sufficiency.”
Building on that success, SOS and HandUp came together to find a way to make HandUp more accessible to people experiencing homelessness across Detroit, and thus decided to launch Handup Detroit. Working with the Mayor’s office and local Detroit agencies, HandUp Detroit will create a more unified call to action for local citizens looking to make an impact on homelessness. All donations will go directly to people in need across the metro area, helping to break down previous barriers between county lines that prevent individuals from getting the service they need.
In June 2016, the Community Foundation of Southeast Michigan and The McGregor Fund granted SOS a combined $100,000 to coordinate and launch HandUp Detroit. Today, September 22nd, we are excited to announce the site is officially live! Your contributions will be matched up to $100 per profile thanks to the McGregor Fund.
How will it work? HandUp Detroit homepage will feature opportunities to responsibly assist clients of all agency partners. Agencies work with their clients to create personal profiles on the HandUp platform. Anyone can visit http://detroit.handup.org to contribute to an individual’s goal in rising above poverty and see ongoing updates on how they are doing. Additionally, HandUp Detroit allows partner nonprofits to track and manage money raised so donors know exactly how their money is being used.
Meghan Takashima, Housing Development Officer for the City of Detroit, said, “We are thrilled that HandUp will be expanding its model to Detroit. Integrating the crowdfunding model with existing permanent housing programs allows the community to play an active role in ending homelessness for Detroit’s most vulnerable citizens.”
Interested in making your city a HandUp city? Let your local Mayor’s office or top nonprofits serving those experiencing homelessness know about us! Or you can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In Detroit? The launch will be celebrated on Thursday, September 29, 2016 with a launch party at Great Lakes Coffee from 6-8 PM. More information on that can be found at https://hudetroitlaunch.eventbrite.com.