A group of nonprofits launched a series of monthly “one-stop” shops Tuesday to provide free health screenings, COVID-19 vaccines and boosters, rental and utility assistance and a food pantry for residents in Detroit and Hamtramck.
Through next year, the Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency is collaborating with Wayne Health, which is affiliated with the Wayne State University School of Medicine, and ICNA Relief Michigan Muslim Family Services to offer the combination of services and to increase vaccinations. The work is supported by a roughly $99,000 grant Wayne Metro received from the CDC Foundation.
“This is like a one-stop place,” said Syeda Mohideen, office manager and case manager for the transitional house at ICNA Relief Michigan Muslim Family Services.
Anyone can come in, she said. They don’t need to have insurance. They can stop by the nonprofit in Detroit and get a health checkup, access mental health resources, get employment help and — with an ID — grab food items from a pantry nearby. They can also get help applying for rental and utility assistance through a statewide program and resources for weatherization and home repair.
As an immigrant herself, Mohideen knows how challenging it can be to find ways to get help. The neighborhood is diverse. It is home to a large population of Bangladeshi families, along with African American, Yemeni, Polish and Bosnian residents. The resource events, however, are also open to residents of broader metro Detroit. Translation assistance may be available in Arabic, Bengali and Pashto.
“Serving this community means, we are here, if you need that extra help,” Mohideen said. “There are people who are working, who are trying to support themselves, but they’re not able to put the food on the table, or by the end of the month, they do not have the money. So, this is a place where they can come in. We can help them.”
The resource events can accommodate up to 100 people and organizers expect to help as many as 1,200 people.
“We know that today, and historically, health equity has been really hard to achieve, especially in Black and brown populations and non-U.S. born and yet, these are the populations we know are bearing the brunt of the COVID burden,” said Mia Harnos, chief operating officer of Wayne Metro.
The effort is also meant to increase vaccine acceptance, Harnos said, through “healthy dialogue” and by listening to the concerns and fears people may have. As of Jan. 28, about 59% of Michiganders — or about 5.5 million people — have been fully vaccinated, according to a statewide dashboard. In Wayne County, 66% of people are fully vaccinated.
The CDC Foundation last summer awarded more than $30 million to community-based organizations across the country to provide “culturally appropriate and community-tailored information” about COVID-19 mitigation measures and the importance of vaccination, according to a news release. Wayne Metro was one of 10 organizations in Michigan which received the support.
Resource events will take place the first Tuesday of every month from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at ICNA Relief Michigan, located at 12500 Mitchell St., Detroit. Health screenings are free to people of all ages with or without insurance. A food pantry also is available for those with an ID.