About Detroit's Brightmoor Community
In the beginning... (excerpt from Wikipedia)
Developer Burt Eddy Taylor bought 160 acres of land, located one mile away from Detroit's city limits at the time (1921). Taylor created Brightmoor as a planned community of inexpensive housing for migrants from the Southern U.S. in the early 1920s. Taylor recruited workers from Appalachia with the lure of employment at one of Detroit's expanding automobile manufacturing plants. Most of the residents worked in the automobile industry. Brightmoor was promoted as a neighborhood where families could own a house and live in modest comfort. The houses were intended as low-cost mass-produced single family housing. The City of Detroit annexed Brightmoor in 1926.
Nearly sixty years later...
By 1983, when St. Christine Church began it's community outreach to residents, the Brightmoor neighborhood, along with other modest Detroit census tracts, was in the beginning of an urban death spiral. Eight years after St. Christine Church closed its doors in 2005, the entire city of Detroit entered Chapter 9 bankruptcy (July 18, 2013), the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history.
Brightmoor, a neighborhood down but not out...
The City of Detroit exited Chapter 9 bankruptcy in December 2014 and a newly elected administration took over. Since then, the city has seen significant incremental improvements in very basic city services. There are street lights in neighborhoods that were submerged in darkness; police and EMS response times have improved dramatically; public transportation has improved; and there have been significant inroads into the thousands of abandoned residential houses.
However, a 2016 study by the Brookings Institute identified Detroit as the city with the most neighborhoods of "concentrated poverty". 20% to 40% or more of the residents in these neighborhoods live at or below the poverty line.
Brightmoor and its surrounding census tracts is one such area of concentrated poverty. SCCS and other non-profits have kept hope alive by providing residents a measure of relief from the unique challenges of concentrated poverty. There are, however, signs of new investments. A major food and retail chain has opened a 'big box' store in the adjacent Zip Code. And Brightmoor is on the radar of developers for housing and other infrastructure investments. But over 30 years of decline can not be reversed overnight.
SCCS has had a continuous presence over those 30 plus years, assisting those who have had their homes and lives destroyed by forces beyond their control.