COTS Joins Four Local Nonprofits that received $1.25 million from the Kresge Foundation NextGen Detroit Initiative Designed To Help Break Poverty Cycle

DETROIT, Feb. 28, 2019 – COTS has received $250,000, a portion of $1.25 million in operating grants from the Kresge Foundation as part of Kresge Foundation’s NextGen Initiative. Kresge’s goal was to help accelerate social and economic mobility (SEM) for Detroiters through a two-generation approach. Kresge Foundation describes their NextGen Initiative as “a two-year program consisting of three components: 1) leadership development; 2) development of a community of practice; and 3) the creation of organizational and cohort action plans designed to advance and accelerate SEM using a two-generation, whole-family approach. “

COTS, an organization that offers programs emergency shelter for families, develops affordable housing, and provides permanent supportive housing assistance, will use the grant to continue to work with parents and children through their Passport to Self-Sufficiency™ (PTS). This theory of change serves as the DNA of COTS and involves mobility coaching and mentoring to support families as they set goals in the following areas: family stability, economic mobility, education, career development, and health and well-being. COTS provides the support of PTS through robust partnerships with other organizations, corporations, and individuals and offers the services of the PTS to anyone connected with any of COTS programs. With the grant, this program will continue to transform lives and COTS will be able to develop an evaluation process to measure its success.

“Frontline providers in the human services sector play a critical role in advancing social and economic mobility,” said Joelle Jude-Fontaine, senior program officer for Kresge’s national Human Services program. “Over the next two years, these organizations will have the opportunity to learn from each other and national experts around the country and become a network that collectively works to integrate the delivery of services and supports to improve outcomes for children and families living in Detroit.”

The winners of Kresge’s NextGen Detroit initiative will share the grant for two-year programs. Other winners include: Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services, Matrix Human Services, Starfish Family Services, and Wayne Metro Community Action Agency.

“We are honored to receive and be recognized amongst fellow nonprofits with a passion for supporting and creating sustainable change for Detroit’s most vulnerable population. This helps us continue to be a catalyst for eradicating generational homelessness and poverty,” said Cheryl Johnson, COTS CEO.

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About COTS
Founded in 1982, Detroit-based COTS http://cotsdetroit.org is a private, non-profit organization that provides emergency shelter, housing services, and comprehensive support services for homeless families and the at-risk population. COTS’ mission is to alleviate homelessness by providing an array of services which enable people to achieve self-sufficiency and obtain quality affordable housing. Through the Passport to Self-Sufficiency™, COTS assists families in reaching their housing, economic, health, education and career goals. COTS also exists to advocate for long-term solutions to the problem of homelessness.

The Skillman Foundation Awards $200,000 To COTS To Expand Youth Program Services

DETROIT, Feb. 25, 2019 – The Skillman Foundation awarded COTS (Coalition on Temporary Shelter) a $200,000 grant to fund a new program that uses art, plus social and emotional engagement, to help homeless youth develop important mental health markers related to executive functioning.

Designed by COTS, The Art+LifeChange project is a winning submission of The Skillman Foundation’s Call for Collaboration grant opportunities. In partnership with Chalkboard & Erasers, Creative Alchemy, LLC, and Broadstreet Presbyterian Church, the Art+LifeChange project will help homeless and low-income youth develop and strengthen important skills such as working memory, cognitive flexibility and inhibition.

The two-year grant (2018-2019) has a focused mission on locally ending the cycle of trauma, poverty and unstable housing through mental health development. Research has shown that after experiencing persistent poverty and trauma, youth are at risk of undermining brain development and executive functioning skills. The Art+LifeChange project also engages parents to help create a caring environment and supporting network for youth.

While meeting the immediate needs of homeless families, COTS’ overarching goal is to stop multi-generational homelessness in the current generation. The Art+LifeChange Project is part of COTS’ Passport to Self-Sufficiency™ approach, which is designed to help homeless families end their homelessness permanently. Using best practices of intensive coaching and mentoring, the passport approach helps families set and achieve outcomes in the five areas which are the core of self-sufficiency: housing and family stability, financial literacy, health and well-being, education and training, and employment and career development.

“This grant from The Skillman Foundation will allow us to do the essential work of helping youth grow their executive functioning skills,” said COTS CEO Cheryl P. Johnson. “These skills are critical for them to navigate the complex challenges they face at school, home and in life. In short, this funding will put the youth back on a roadmap for success.”

For this program, COTS will offer expanded sites for homeless and low-income youth, including:
Peggy’s Place, the new site for COTS Family-Only Emergency Shelter (Opening held Feb. 20 at 16700 Wyoming Ave.)
The community center located at Buersmeyer Manor Apartments (8520 Wyoming Ave.)
Broadstreet Presbyterian Church (12065 Broadstreet)

COTS and its partners seek to:
Serve 80 children, ages 8-14, in art-based after-school programming three days a week, enhancing executive functioning skills, building social-emotional skills, and preparing them for independence;
Implement a six-week art, gardening and nature-based summer program for a total of 40 children, ages 8-14, that builds social-emotional and executive functioning skills;
Hold two community events that engage parents, caregivers, siblings and the community to showcase the power of art to build social-emotional and executive functioning skills;
Offer incentives and support systems to mitigate transportation barriers and encourage participation.

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Founded in 1982, Detroit-based COTS http://cotsdetroit.org is a private, non-profit organization that provides emergency shelter, housing services, and comprehensive support services for homeless families and the at-risk population. COTS’ mission is to alleviate homelessness by providing an array of services which enable people to achieve self-sufficiency and obtain quality affordable housing. Through the Passport to Self-Sufficiency™, COTS assists families in reaching their housing, economic, health, education and career goals. COTS also exists to advocate for long-term solutions to the problem of homelessness.