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Mayor's Update to Residents - November 18, 2022

Sunday, November 20, 2022 4:58 PM | Helen Gales (Administrator)

City selects United Community Housing Coalition to manage Eviction Defense services to renters

The City of Detroit plans to enter into a contract with a deeply trusted community-based housing rights organization to manage intake and referrals for legal defense for Detroiters facing eviction, Mayor Mike Duggan announced this week.  After a competitive application process, the City has selected the United Community Housing Coalition to manage the provision of eviction defense services to qualified Detroit residents.

United Community Housing Coalition is a nonprofit organization providing housing assistance to Detroit’s low-income residents. Since 1973, UCHC has worked to keep people in their homes and secure affordable housing for those in need. Contracting with UCHC for this service is the first major step the City is taking to establish the Office of Eviction Defense as required under the Right to Counsel ordinance, spearheaded by Council President Mary Sheffield and approved by City Council in May.

In the next two weeks, Mayor Duggan will announce the hiring of an executive director and project manager to lead the operations of the Office of Eviction Defense.

Once fully operational, the Office of Eviction Defense will provide legal counsel and representation to anyone earning up to twice the federal poverty level. The new office will be funded for the next three years with $6 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. Separately, the Gilbert Family Foundation has pledged $12 million over the next three years to provide eviction legal defense for 6,000 low-income Detroit families with children.

Read the full story online at Eviction Defense services to renters (detroitmi.gov).

Campus Martius road closings for Tree Lighting ceremony

Please plan accordingly for this year's Detroit Tree Lighting road closures. Several streets surrounding Campus Martius are closed, but will reopen on Saturday, Nov. 19 at 6 a.m. Closures include:

  • Woodward Ave. at Gratiot and Larned
  • Michigan Ave. between Griswold
  • Fort St. between Woodward Ave. and Griswold
  • Monroe between Woodward Ave. and Farmer St.
  • Cadillac Square between Woodward Ave. and Bates St.

More information is available at Downtown Detroit Partnership: http://ow.ly/QaFn50LGsi0.

Residents urged to get COVID and flu vaccines

Help protect your family and friends and give them added peace of mind this holiday by getting up-to-date on your vaccines. It can reduce the length and severity of symptoms so everyone can have a stress-free, healthy and happy holiday.

Schedule your vaccine: https://pegsecure.qrd.by/detroitvaccinationselfscheduling or text “vaccine” to (313) 329-7272.

Councilman Scott Benson partners with Alkebu-lan Village and Downtown Detroit Partnership to build world’s largest Kwanzaa Kinara in Campus Martius 

Rendering of the Motor City Kwanzaa Kinara, currently under construction at Campus Martius, will be officially introduced on Dec. 26.

Construction on the Motor City Kwanzaa Kinara began this week with support from the City of Detroit Civil Rights, Inclusion & Opportunity (CRIO) Department, Detroit Downtown Partnership, and Councilman Scott Benson.

The completed Kwanzaa Kinara will be officially introduced to the public, along with the first light being lit, in a small ceremony on Dec. 26.

Nearly one year ago, Councilman Benson reached out to leaders to discuss what it would take to build a structure to honor the seven-day Kwanzaa celebration in Detroit. After meeting and planning, construction of the Motor City Kwanzaa Kinara is underway and, once completed, will be the world’s tallest Kinara of its kind – reaching 30 feet in height.

Kwanzaa is a celebration held from December 26 through January 1 to honor Black culture and heritage. Maulana Karenga established the holiday in 1966 and hoped to reconnect family, history, community and heritage through seven principles, which include unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith. A feast is shared on the final day of Kwanzaa, and gifts are exchanged at this time.

Read the full story online at Kwanzaa Kinara in Campus Martius (detroitmi.gov).

Hamtramck prepares for Joe Louis Greenway, unveils new mural honoring famous boxer

The new alley mural of famous boxer Joe Louis, titled "Way Maker" by City Walls artist Habacuc Samuel Bessiake, center, was revealed this week along the newest section of the Joe Louis Greenway.

Local community leaders took part in revealing a new mural this week along the Joe Louis Greenway that honors the famous Detroit boxer.

The Joe Louis Greenway is a transformational project that will connect Detroit to four other cities including Hamtramck. The City of Hamtramck has already begun preparing for their portion of the greenway connection that will provide regional connectivity and non-motorized safe modes of transit.

Hamtramck’s reimagined alley now features a new mural of Joe Louis, the fighter, and social justice champion that the greenway is named for. The mural entitled, Way Maker, was created by City Walls artist Habacuc Samuel Bessiake and features Joe Louis smiling with a sweeping view of the greenway visioned in the wind of one of his famous knockout punches as The Brown Bomber.

The connection through Hamtramck will be a protected, two-way bike lane on the west side of Joseph Campau from Carpenter to Hamtramck Dr. A portion of the connection is the Joseph Campau business corridor between Caniff Ave. and Holbrook Ave. The connection will go through the alley behind the businesses on the west side of the street, activating the alley as a shared use space for pedestrians and slow bicyclists.

Read the full story online at Joe Louis Greenway mural unveiling (detroitmi.gov).

Keep Detroit clean by recycling

America Recycles Day was this week, and Detroit residents can continue to do their part to keep our city beautiful.

Residents can request a recycling bin here: detroitrecycles.org

Report blight in your neighborhood using the Improve Detroit App: https://detroitmi.gov/ImproveDetroit

Motor City Match winner aims to revive the lost art of quilting

Business owner Kecia Escoe hopes to bring back the lost art of quilting at her new business, Umi's Comfort, where she hand makes custom quilts.

A Detroit business owner hopes to revive the lost art of quilting by opening the city’s only quilting business. Umi's Comfort, located in the Nardin Park neighborhood, offers handmade custom quilts, pillows and quilting classes for community members. Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and City leaders held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the $50,000 Motor City Match grant awardee, marking the 141st brick-and-mortar business opened by the program.

After experiencing turmoil and hardship, Kecia Escoe, the founder of Umi's Comfort, found peace in the arts. But it wasn't until she began quilting that she felt fulfilled. She soon realized others within her community could also benefit from the craft. That's when she decided to turn her passion into a career and add vibrancy to her westside community.

Unlike most Motor City Match businesses that are located along major commercial corridors, Umi’s Comfort is located along a residential street at 12200 Petoskey at the corner of Richton, near Livernois and Davison, making it truly a neighborhood business. The grant funding she received from the program helped Escoe renovate the small building and open her business.

After 20 rounds, Motor City Match has distributed $10.1 million in grants for start-ups and new businesses located throughout the city of Detroit. Through the pipeline of resources provided by the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation’s small business teams, more than 1,600 businesses have received assistance along their journey to open their doors. 

Read the full story online at Motor City Match art of quilting (detroitmi.gov).

Detroiters urged to take preventive measures against spread of respiratory virus and influenza

The Detroit Health Department is urging all Detroiters to take precautions to prevent the spread of all respiratory illnesses, which are spreading rapidly due to a nationwide outbreak of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and influenza. The result is an increase in demand for pediatric acute care hospital beds.

The Detroit Health Department also encourages residents to getting vaccinated as soon as possible for flu (ages 6 months+), COVID-19 and get the new bivalent booster to protect against more contagious Omicron variants if due (ages 5+ two months following completion of initial series). There is no vaccine to protect against RSV.

The Michigan Health & Hospital Association is offering the following advice to help stop the spread of respiratory illness, including RSV:     

  • If you are sick, stay home
  • Practice frequent and proper hand washing
  • Monitor symptoms and seek medical care if symptoms worsen
  • Consider having children wear a mask in public places, including school especially if local rates of respiratory illnesses are high

The Detroit Health Department offers free immunizations at the following locations:

Weekday Walk-in Locations
DHD Immunization Clinic, 100 Mack Avenue                            
Monday - Friday from 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Samaritan Center, 5555 Conner Ave. 
Monday - Friday from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Northwest Activities Center (*COVID-19 only), 18100 Meyers                         
Monday - Friday from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

COVID-19 Testing
Northwest Activities Center, 18100 Meyers                         
Monday - Friday from 7 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Walk-ins are welcome at all locations, but vaccination appointments may be scheduled using the self-scheduling option on our website: detroitmi.gov/health or text “vaccine” to (313) 329-7272. Bring vaccination card to appointment.

For more information, go online to Preventive Measures Against the Spread of RSV (detroitmi.gov).

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