Cass Community Social Services

About Cass

Cass Community Social Services provides services to the homeless and disadvantaged populations of Detroit. It serves these diverse populations by providing for basic needs, including affordable housing, promoting self-reliance and encouraging community involvement and improvement.

In 2010 our church began providing volunteer services at Cass Community Social Services in Detroit. Our first effort involved 75 members of our church doing a big weekend work project at Cass. Since then, groups have provided volunteer services at Cass throughout the year.  Other First Pres groups have painted Cass buildings, weeded gardens, planted spring flowers, “rehabilitated” rooms, organized supply rooms, and sponsored a Christmas party for the children of Cass. First Pres hosted the Cass Ambassador Choir on two occasions and held a dinner in Ann Arbor for the benefit of Cass drawing nearly 230 people.

Cass Community Social Services is a vital ministry, and a 501 (c) (3) organization, accredited in 2002. Prior to that many of its programs started as a part of Cass Community United Methodist Church. The Detroit-based agency works across the city in areas of concentrated poverty providing programs for food, health, housing and jobs. Cass prepares and serves one million meals annually.

The Cass Garden

During the month of May, groups of First Pres members rototilled, planted and set up the vegetable gardens located near the Cass kitchen.   The garden provides food for the Cass Kitchen to serve to the homeless and others in need.

Volunteer opportunities are available to work on the garden throughout the summer, weeding and watering, and providing TLC for the plants.  If you are interested in gardening and would like to help out, please contact Beth Sanderford at beth.sanderford@gmail.com

The New Shelter on Webb Street, opening December 2021

Cass Community Social Services recently purchased an additional facility to replace their current facility that shelters up to 50 residents for up to 90 days while they are able to get back on their feet.  The residents may be seeking shelter from homelessness or domestic violence.   The current facility is one large room, and there is a need for a more COVID-friendly place for them to stay, as well as a need for privacy for the families.  This new facility will provide more private spaces for families to be with their children.  The building was built in 1925, and was formally a convent that housed the Sisters from the Visitation Catholic Church.  Over the years the building was converted to a shelter when the church closed in 1989. 

Volunteer opportunities are available to repair and paint rooms, as well as help Cass be able to get the building ready for the anticipating opening date of the end of December, 2021.  Please contact Don Redding at dredding58@yahoo.com if you are interested in helping out with this project.

Your Support Helps Build Tiny Homes in Detroit

First Pres has contributed in several ways to help Cass Community Social Services in Detroit build a Tiny Home community for formerly homeless adults, low-income senior citizens, and young adults who have aged out of foster care. Of the 25 tiny homes that are planned, seven are occupied and six more are currently under construction. The residents are all extremely low income with an average income less than $12,000 annually. Four of the seven homes are occupied by people who were formerly homeless. They engage in financial coaching and participate in homeownership classes. Tiny home residents pay a monthly rent of $1 per square foot, which helps cover taxes, insurance and water. In addition, this fee pays a portion of a “rent-to-own building equity plan,” which spread over seven years, enables residents to own their own home. Residents volunteer “sweat equity” to community activities which help them get to know their neighbors and improve the quality of life for the area.

This project is bringing new life to an area of Detroit that has experienced decades of blight, and new hope to people who would not otherwise have the opportunity to own a home. Read the 2017 Report here.

Mission facts about Cass: 325 homeless men, women and children currently stay in one of Cass’ shelters, transitional housing or permanent supportive housing programs; Cass operates a weekly free medical clinic and a day program for 100 adults with developmental disabilities and 70 adults are currently employed in Cass’ Green Industries which marry jobs with sustainability. Rev Faith Fowler is the Director of Cass and a visionary pastor with a bent for practical social action.

To see more about Cass, visit http://casscommunity.org/

Contact Us

Rev. Jay Sanderford at jsanderford@firstpresbyterian.org