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Metro Detroit nonprofits look for new ways to deliver services during pandemic

Nonprofits struggling as need for services increase

DETROIT – The coronavirus has brought along tough times for pretty much everyone, including organizations that depend on donations such as nonprofits.

“Our organization is critically important, because we’re actually the only organization that provides drop in services to youth or young adults who are at risk of or currently experiencing homelessness,” said Courtney Smith with Detroit Phoenix Center.

READ MORE: Michigan coronavirus (COVID-19) cases up to 54,881; Death toll now at 5,240

Smith says it is a huge need that is often overlooked. “We offer showers, washer and dryers, they have access to a computer lab, food pantry, clothing closet, virtual programming,” she said.

Smith says they are still offering those resources. The resources include delivering groceries and hygiene products to counseling, but that’s hard to do because the building is closed due to COVID 19.

“Some of the challenges we are now facing during COVID-19 is the request for our services has increased, but the accessibility to those that we serve has decreased,” she said.

Portia Roberson with Focus: HOPE also talked about how organizations are coming up with unique ways to serve the community.

“We were able to pivot very quickly and I think it made all the difference in the world,” said Roberson.

Roberson is doing things differently, because the group’s campus is also shut down due to the coronavirus.

“We shifted our workforce and we started doing virtual trainings for our students. We shifted our Headstart so we can do virtual home visits,” said Roberson.

The biggest service the group offers the community is through its food program.

“Most importantly, we shifted our Food for Seniors program. That was the biggest thing we had to shift and the quickest thing we have to shift.”

Now Roberson is focusing on having a plan in place for when it’s safe to reopen.

“We installed portable sinks, so people can wash their hands upon entering and exiting the building. Hand sanitizers are everywhere of course. Everyone is mandated to wear a mask.”

Now both organizations said they’re still partnering with businesses. Those donations played a huge factor during the crisis, but as always donations especially for nonprofits are needed.


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