Blog‎ > ‎

Forget Snyder/Orr. Be your own EFM!! Takeover YOUR neighborhood-My Simple Community Outreach Effort

posted Mar 15, 2013, 10:17 PM by Aaron B Lewis   [ updated Mar 31, 2013, 9:05 AM ]
Over the past few weeks my patience has worn OUT with all this FOCUS on Detroit's EFM fiasco.

Don't get me wrong I believe totally that it is unconstitutional, money grab, politically driven yet it is happening. One can not expect to wait to stop a steaming locomotive until it gets 2 feet from running out of track, you need to start trying to stop the locomotive WELL before it is on brink of disaster. Detroit has been on this track for years and to give all your energy to try to stop it now, well is a waste. That energy should have been used to try and slow it down consistently well before it reached the end of the track. I digress. (this can be a whole different post)

I would much rather, and chose to, spend my energy on focusing on the opportunities us citizens of Detroit have in front of us, regardless of who is in charge downtown.

Our community, our neighborhoods, our education, our empowerment. So I am borrowing space in my office building and started to hold sessions for the community to start a dialogue on opportunities we have to come together and affect our own future EFM OR NOT.

I sent letters to the approximately 30 block area around my office a week or so back informing residents of ongoing community meetings I would  be hosting every Thursday (10-11am and 2-3pm 15400 Grand River 2nd Floor Detroit MI 48227)

The first week no one showed up. This week four people attended and below is what we discussed. I will keep you posted weekly on the meetings and what comes of our initiatives.  

          - we discussed securing,acquiring and redeveloping the vacant homes/lots in our neighborhood.

-creating a non-profit/block club/redevelopment entity that would qualify for grants and federal CDBG funds coming available?

-spreading the word about an initiative I am spear heading which is a community based funding program, where private lending individuals can assist (by lending money from their self-directed retirement accounts ( in acquisition and rehab of vacant properties?    

-a community small business project we discussed to offer very affordable lawn service for our community. (micro-loans, start up funding etc)

-a project to take at least one of the vacant properties in our neighborhood and make it a model for renewable energy. Outfit with solar panels, possibly geothermal, rain water catch basins, etc and promote it as a sample of what is possible.

I have to give a shot out to Jerry@LovelandTechnologies who tweeted about a MI Vacant Housing Coalition Meeting (I had never heard of) I attended last week. It was hosted by Michigan Community Resources I met some people doing similar activities in their neighborhoods and was encouraged by the conversation. 

Focus on what you can control, and get empowered.

P.S. also I learned from Director of General Services for City of Detroit at the MI Vacant Housing Coalition meeting that the vacant lots the city used to cut (I guess they did in some neighborhoods?) will only be cut once this year. Not once a month either ONCE for the year. About mid to late summer time is what is planned. Neighbors plan accordingly.