On Faith and Housing Justice

On Faith and Housing Justice

Homelessness, Inequity, Life & Community, Poverty
By Sara Constantakis, Thrive Detroit Copyeditor I would like to believe that I am a person who has always been concerned with justice. Throughout most of my adult life, I have volunteered for organizations that help people -- teaching reading to children and adults, or raising money for organizations that fight diseases -- but I don’t know if, at the time, I ever thought of those activities as justice work. This past November, I was asked to give a reflection at my church on the role of justice in my life. As I was putting together my reflection, I realized that it has been through my experience with Unitarian Universalism that I have learned the most about what justice means, the different types of justice, and how justice plays out…
Read More
Next Time, Let’s Get Lunch on Me

Next Time, Let’s Get Lunch on Me

Business, Enterprise, Homelessness, Poverty, Stories
Writer, Tash Moore Westlake is a long way from Oak Park, Michigan. It's a neighborhood that skirts downtown Los Angeles and has become home to La Bodega. The concept is the brick-and-mortar home base of LaRayia Gaston's vegan cafe and shop, as well as Lunch on Me. Gaston, originally from New York, founded Lunch on Me, a pop-up that serves the homeless throughout Skid Row, Watts, Venice, Compton, and lately MacArthur Park. Through partnerships and sponsorships with big names like Whole Foods and BuzzFeed, LaRayia--alongside President, Venus--has been able to provide healthy, affordable meals to locals of all stripes. I was introduced to Lunch on Me through a pop-up in Detroit last winter, right before the polar vortex froze SE Michigan to a virtual standstill. I met Venus, ever enthusiastic,…
Read More
I, Thou, and Homelessness

I, Thou, and Homelessness

Editorials, Homelessness, Inequity, Poverty
Delphia Simmons, Editor This Summer I was invited to give a Fall lecture about homelessness. I would be lecturing a group of about 30 active retirees somewhere in Oakland County. I sat with the invitation while gazing out the window from behind my desk with pen in hand. Requests such as these come from a desire for people to know more and to do more.  I’ve come to know that even compassionate, well-intentioned people need, and sometimes want, to challenge what they think they know about people who are living without shelter or housing.  The words “homeless and homelessness” evoke images, snapshots that prompt thoughts and confirm held beliefs.  Although we all want to help, I can never take for granted that we are on the page or that our words have the same meaning.…
Read More
The Misnomer of Affordable Housing in Detroit

The Misnomer of Affordable Housing in Detroit

Editorials, Homelessness, Opinion
By Delphia Simmons, Editor I cringe when I read or hear the “A-word” uttered in Detroit these days, especially in relationship to housing. As a city, I think we’ve almost forgotten that affordable housing for all is as important to the life of a truly thriving city as shiny new restaurants and shops, perhaps even more so. I wish I could say I believe that Detroit understands this fact. But much of what I hear is easy lip service and background noise. The reality is clearer each day: We are losing housing that is affordable for most residents of Detroit at a pace that is not keeping up with replacement or even the proclamations of new developments with 20% “affordable” units. Adding to the problem is the fact that units…
Read More
The Spirit Level: Exposing deeply rooted societal inequity and inequality

The Spirit Level: Exposing deeply rooted societal inequity and inequality

Books, Homelessness, Inequity, Poverty
‘The Spirit Level’ author and epidemiologist Richard Wilkinson: “We have to be very vigilant against all the ways that hate is built up” Richard Wilkinson’s work is dedicated to exposing deeply rooted societal inequality and to showing how much better off people are when living in a more equal society. With ‘The Spirit Level’, the book he co-authored with his colleague Kate Pickett, he brought the results of that work to a mass audience. Wilkinson told INSP about the growing problem of inequality and what street papers are doing to combat it. By Tony Inglis “I find this to be quite a daunting audience. I normally speak to academics and people who are more detached from the real world. But I think many people here know the practicalities of what…
Read More