More than 350 volunteers gathered in the snow and cold to board up 13 abandoned homes and apartment buildings on Detroit’s north side. They cut brush and dragged mattresses and garbage out of the homes as part of the project, carried out by Wayne State University’s Center for Urban Studies and Americorps.
“This is how we build community; this is how we build community cohesion,” said Lyke Thompson, a WSU professor of political science and the Center’s director, as he worked alongside the other volunteers.
Zach Fairchild, an Americorps worker and main organizer of the project, said they chose to clean up parts of the north side to help create a safe passage for the girls of the Detroit International Academy for Young Women as they walked to school. Monday’s effort was their first large-scale attempt at boarding up houses.
“We’re trying stabilize the neighborhoods, and boarding up the vacant and open properties is the first step,” he said. “It’s getting (them) taken care of so people in the neighborhood can deal with the other issues they have going on.”