The Intersection: Focus: HOPE CEO Talks Tackling Poverty in Detroit

William Jones says racial healing and economic opportunity can prevent social unrest.

FOCUS: Hope was one of the organizations founded after the 1967 uprising in Detroit. It’s focused on racial healing and economic opportunity in Southeast Michigan. And over the last 50 years, it’s played a vital role in moving the community forward and helping people who are trapped in poverty.

As part of our work with the Detroit Journalism Cooperative, WDET is examining the issues the Kerner Commission identified as reasons for the social unrest in the late 1960s. 

William Jones, CEO at FOCUS: Hope, joins Detroit Today host Stephen Henderson to talk about one of those findings — that poverty and lack of jobs contributed to that societal conflict.

Jones says people don’t seem to understand that the best attempts at solving these multi-layered problems are long-term investments, which are often passed over in favor of short-term fixes. Jones uses factory work as an example, saying that those jobs may be taken by robots, but that they can train people to program those robots.

“It’s a very tough sell, but we’re determined to keep doing it.” says Jones.

To hear the full conversation, click on the audio player above.

Original air date: June 30th, 2016


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