Here Comes the Sun, La-da-da-da…

Transitioning out of this year’s extremely harsh winter has me singing in anticipation of the spring and summer sun. The “polar vortex” has exacted an especially harsh toll on both those experiencing homelessness and the organizations that serve them. Emergency shelters have operated at capacity and families without the resources to heat their homes have used warming centers for extended hours.  Yet, the untenable spirit of both the served and those serving them, along with the generosity of so many people like you, has us emerging together into a much-anticipated spring.

We emerge from the realities of this harsh winter with an even stronger resolve to provide an on-ramp of opportunity for those on the economic margins to participate in entrepreneurship through micro-enterprise. We want to lessen the number of individuals and families who find themselves having to worry about shelter and warmth next winter.

Thrive Detroit, headquartered in Midtown on the 2nd floor of the offices of Coalition on Temporary Shelter (COTS), is working in partnership with “for impact” organizations, as well as social and for-profit businesses, to provide micro-enterprise opportunities for those experiencing homelessness or who are unstably housed. Our street paper vendors are usually single individuals facing homelessness or low-income individuals likely at risk of losing housing.

One of the things that this record-breaking winter has taught us is that we need more indoor options for our vendors during the colder months. So, we are specifically looking for churches, organizations, and businesses that would allow individuals to sell this street newspaper in their lobbies or inside their doorways—someplace out of the elements. We’ll be working on that this summer.

We also want more ideas for turn-key, low-barrier-to-entry micro-enterprises to help move people away from the economic margins. We’ve partnered with I Am Young Detroit to provide a $500 micro-grant to a socially minded innovator who wants to positively impact those for whom a micro-enterprise can mean the difference between housing and homelessness. Visit http://detroit.iamyoungamerica.com/#grants for more details.

We thought we’d get a jump on spring and freshen up our look a bit. We hope you like the new look and feel a bit spring-like yourselves, despite the chill still hanging in the air.

We also developed a new website, one that we hope you’ll want to hang around and browse a bit more. Be sure to check us out at http://www.thrivedetroit.org, and while you’re there, share a few of our articles with your network. We like to be “liked,” so if you haven’t already done so, please “like” us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. You can do that from the homepage of our website, where you can also subscribe to our monthly newsletter.

We hope you feel as energized and happy to see the sun as we do!  Here comes the sun, and it’s alright, for all of us.

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