Get Involved: Southwest Solutions
This week, the Regional Activation Zone features Southwest Solutions' housing programs. The group is making real progress, changing individual lives and the entire Southwest Detroit community with education, counseling, homeownership and redevelopment programs.
Southwest Housing SolutionsLocation/contact:
3627 W. Vernor Hwy.
Detroit, MI 48216
Call: (313) 841-3727www.swcds.orgKey Goals:
With one-on-one bilingual pre-purchase counseling, credit repair low-interest fix-up loans and special aid for people on the brink of foreclosure, Southwest Housing Solutions helps increase the financial literacy of southwest Detroit and helps stabilize and regenerate neighborhoods near the Ambassador Bridge. Leader:
Nina Rodriguez, director of the Southwest Housing Solutions’ Housing Opportunity Center grew up in the area and works diligently to keep it stable. Her task is to help people achieve the American dream of homeownership and row out of a sea of debt into solid financial ground. About 500 people a year seek its services, including 75 new home purchasers. Quote: "
Most of our clients are very hard working and want nothing more than to become homeowners. Buying a home can be exciting and frightening at the same time. We serve as advocates, educators, and friend to our clients. We teach prospective homebuyers about the mortgage process, review all documentation, help identify resources such as down payment assistance, help with credit issues and money management. We look over credit reports, weigh the obstacles and develop a work plan. It is tremendously satisfying to see this part of the city turn around."History:
The notion of an urban redevelopment plan for Southwest Detroit, an area with largely old housing stock but viable neighborhoods and retail districts came from an anthropological study of suburban development called Edge City. Former Southwest Solutions executive director Dennis Quinn applied several ideas – strengthening existing community groups and acquiring and fixing up key apartment buildings. Next they tapped available federal, state and local programs that could increase affordable housing options for people in distressed areas. The umbrella organization is Southwest Solutions.Biggest obstacles:
Predatory loans, the economy, and land contract deals continue to be the largest contributor to the foreclosure problem in Southwest Detroit and its surrounding communities. Land Contracts are a less traditional vehicle used to finance homes. Minorities, especially Latinos and individuals poor credit are most at risk. There are many reasons why people, especially Latinos, are vulnerable to scams and fall prey to unlawful and predatory practices when purchasing a home. The reasons include the fact that, first many members of the growing Hispanic community in Southwest Detroit have a bias against banks, the traditional broker of mortgage financing. Members of the Community may not be knowledgeable about the intricacies of financing a home, so concede to, or chose, a land contract as the only option to finance their home. The lack of competition for rates, the lack of regulatory oversight, language barriers and a lack of understanding of home financing, leaves the Latino population and others open to abuse with land contract financing. Intervention is crucial from housing counselors and financial advisors in order to save people.Certification, national affiliations and awards:
Southwest Housing Solutions is certified by the city of Detroit and Michigan State Housing Development Authority for two decades of comprehensive work in community revitalization. Southwest Solutions is Detroit’s only NeighborWorks America chartered member and a National Council of LaRaza affiliate. It was named Crain’s Detroit Business Best Managed Nonprofit in 2005 for an organization with a budget over $3 million. Events:
Ongoing homebuyer classes and workshops taught by Certified Homebuyer Counselors include introduction to home ownership, pre-purchase counseling, credit repair and homeowner management and maintenance. You do not have to live in southwest Detroit to qualify. Call (313) 841-3727 for details. How to get involved:
Southwest Solutions invites volunteers to serve in a variety of roles. They can organize household cleaning supply drives (for our homeless clientele
whom we transition into housing); assist with neighborhood cleanup projects such as we have coming up the week of June 4-9; donate their time to give workshops for adults with mental illness that focus on personal skill development; and assist with translation and program activities at monthly Family Literacy Nights. Volunteers are also needed for field trips with our Even Start family literacy program (Moms and preschool children learning English) and for special projects such as Easter Egg hunts, Thanksgiving dinner preparation and Christmas holiday gift drives. To become involved or to learn more about Southwest Solutions, contact Bob O'Brien at (313)843-6371 or firstname.lastname@example.org
.Source: Nina Rodriguez, Southwest Solutions
What is the Regional Activation Zone? A place to Get inspired. Get informed. Get connected. Read about it here.
Way connects individuals and groups with meaningful volunteer
opportunities throughout the region. Through Volunteer Solutions,
United Way's online matching tool, you can find an opportunity that
interests you and is close to home. Get started by clicking here
2-1-1 to be connected to more than 7,000 health and human services in
Whether you need assistance or want to lend a hand, 2-1-1 is there for
you. To learn more, or submit a request online, click here.