The initiative, directed by H. Luke Shaefer, has just announced its first round of funded projects that will address poverty. Kozlowski describes two that will have a direct impact in Detroit: a partnership with United Community Housing Coalition to help residents avoid foreclosure, and an effort to support community health care workers in a neighborhood on the west side of Detroit.
“Over the last 15 years, one of the most devastating blows to Detroit has been the Wayne County tax foreclosure process, which has displaced 100,000 people from their homes and left vacant properties,” writes Kozlowski. Applying for a state property tax exemption could help homeowners avoid foreclosure, but the process is lengthy. Under the Poverty Solutions grant, U-M researchers will work collaboratively with community and city agents to improve the application process.
Another grant will send community-trained health care workers to the Cody Rouge neighborhood to increase access to health care services. Kozlowski quotes Michele Heisler, professor of internal medicine at U-M's Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation: “If you have people not managing their health well, they are not going to be able to be productive. The idea is an initial step that may lay a foundation for other community development efforts.”
Shaefer says the programs will be “solution-oriented” and part of Poverty Solutions' goal “to take poverty research at U-M to the next level.”