DETROIT, Mich., March 17, 2022 — Pope Francis Center today announced the addition of several new board members who will help guide the organization as it takes on a bigger role addressing Detroit’s chronic homelessness issue.
Elected to the board are Robbie Murphy, a board member of The Julia Burke Foundation, Ray Scott, president and CEO of Lear Corp. and Gary Torgow, chairman of the board of The Huntington National Bank.
“I am thrilled to have these three community leaders join us on our mission to end chronic homelessness in Detroit,” said Fr. Tim McCabe, SJ, executive director of the Pope Francis Center. “Their compassion for, and dedication to, those experiencing homelessness along with their expertise in running large, complex organizations will be invaluable as we enter a new phase of meeting the needs of Detroit’s most vulnerable citizens.”
Earlier this month the Detroit City Council gave final approval to a purchase agreement and zoning changes related to Pope Francis Center’s acquisition of a 5.3-acre site in Detroit’s Core City neighborhood. The location will be the future site of the Bridge Housing Campus.
Facilities at the Campus will allow Pope Francis Center to expand beyond its current day-center operations and provide a new type of personalized, coordinated care to the chronically homeless.
Pope Francis Center expects to start ground preparation later this month and open the Campus in mid-2023.
Bridge Housing Campus guests will stay for 90 to 120 days and have access to trauma-informed care involving intensive medical, respite, psychological, addiction, and social and job-readiness services designed to break the cycles of chronic homelessness. The Campus will feature 40 studio apartments, a cafeteria, gymnasium, library, classrooms and health clinic. It will also include an outdoor shelter with heated sidewalks and overhead radiant heaters for those who have normalized homelessness and struggle to come indoors.
Staff will help guests gather documentation needed to qualify for and access permanent supportive housing, then make the transition when they are psychologically and practically ready.
Pope Francis Center is currently providing services to nearly 200 guests per day from a temporary location at Huntington Place in Detroit. The Center provides two made-from-scratch nutritious meals, laundry and shower facilities and rotating medical, dental and legal clinics, and housing assistance five days a week.
Photos of the new board members are available here.
About Pope Francis Center
Located in the heart of downtown Detroit, the Pope Francis Center provides vital services to the city’s homeless. On an average day, we welcome nearly 200 guests and provide them with nutritious meals, showers, laundry and access to doctors, dentists, lawyers, housing providers, and job training through our free clinics. We have been serving Detroit’s most vulnerable citizens for over 30 years, and we’re committed to eradicating chronic homelessness by 2030. For more information, visit popefranciscenter.org.