Neighborhood Service Organization Breaks Ground on Homelessness Campus in Detroit

Detroit’s Neighborhood Service Organization Friday broke ground on The Clay Center, a $20 million, three-acre campus that will offer housing and services to homeless individuals at 3364 Mack Ave. in Detroit. The campus is expected to be self-sustaining through strategic built-in revenue streams.
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The Clay Center groundbreaking
A campus offering shelter and services to homeless individuals has broken ground in Detroit. // Photo courtesy of the Neighborhood Service Organization

Detroit’s Neighborhood Service Organization Friday broke ground on The Clay Center, a $20 million, three-acre campus that will offer housing and services to homeless individuals at 3364 Mack Ave. in Detroit. The campus is expected to be self-sustaining through strategic built-in revenue streams.

The location is the site of the former seventh police precinct. The campus will allow residents to transition into shelters, temporary housing, and eventually permanent supportive housing. It will offer services including primary health care, mental health services, substance abuse treatment, job readiness training, a commercial kitchen, dining and laundry rooms, physical activity spaces, and gardens. The clinic, housing, and support space will be 50,000 square feet.

The health care center will be open to the public, offering primary, dental, and behavioral health care, and well as pharmacy services for the community.

“Our city’s revitalization won’t mean much if those who struggle with homelessness aren’t made a priority,” says Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan. “Thanks to our partners at the Neighborhood Service Organization, we are seeing a $20 million investment in the McDougall-Hunt neighborhood to provide permanent supportive housing and critical support services to our homeless population.”

A medical residence will offer homeless individuals who would otherwise be sent home but still require minimal care to stay and recuperate. The shelter and service center has space to temporarily house 56 adults and services to help them transition into permanent housing. The space is designed to allow for a transitional configuration that will permit bed availability to shift based on the needs of the community as demand for beds for males and females change.

“The face of homelessness has changed in Detroit. For nearly 65 years, NSO has been a community-based organization that has been able to shift with the changing demands and needs of people and communities that we serve,” says Linda Little, president and CEO of the Neighborhood Service Organization. “The Clay Center is another bold step for us to set a new bar for our approach to doing our part to end homelessness for those we serve and help them live to thrive. We not only want to provide housing, we want to provide tools, life skills, and services that will help to uplift the whole person in a sustainable way.”

Construction will begin first on the two-story, 42 one-bedroom affordable housing unit, made possible by the Michigan State Housing Development Authority and the city of Detroit. The development partner is MHT Housing Inc.; the architect is Fusco, Shaffer, and Pappas Inc.; and Chase provided construction financing.

Project financials are being finalized, and the organization plans to kick off its capital campaign in the coming weeks.

The center is named in honor of Sheilah P. Clay, former president and CEO of the Neighborhood Service Organization, who retired in 2018 after 22 years with the agency. she oversaw the $55 million conversion of the Bell Building into permanent, supportive housing for formerly homeless adults and into the organization’s headquarters.

The organization is a health and human service agency.

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