Bridge Magazine: The Truth About Poverty

Delphia Simmons meets a lot of people in financial distress.

In her job at the Coalition on Temporary Shelter (COTS) in Detroit’s Midtown neighborhood, she’s witness to the myriad plot twists that land people in the homeless shelter from throughout the metro area. From job loss and chronic unemployment, to mortgage and tax foreclosure, to unexpected expenses, medical crises and domestic violence, she’s seen it all.

We have a lot of heartbreaking stories,” said Simmons, director of COTS’s Passport to Self-Sufficiency program.

Residents there are without the safety net of steady income that’s high enough to pay for life’s basic needs: housing, food, transportation and health care. Simmons says she sees people’s direct paths from being simply financially challenged to facing the more serious societal issues of homelessness, hunger and long-term unemployment.

If we could get ahead of it… we could actually prevent homelessness from happening, which is what you really want to do, prevent it before it happens,” she said. “The face of homelessness is not the face of the man holding the sign at the freeway exit anymore. It is families.”

Listen to an interview with Delphia Simmons.

Read the full article in Bridge Magazine.

Image credit: Sandra Svoboda

This post is a part of Detroit by the Numbers.

WDET is putting Detroit’s urban — and suburban — data myths to the test, separating fact from fiction.  

Detroit by the Numbers is produced by WDET 101.9 FM and is powered by the Detroit Journalism Cooperative. Support for this project comes from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Renaissance Journalism’s Michigan Reporting Initiative and the Ford Foundation.




About the Author

Sandra Svoboda

Special Assignments Manager

Recovering Bankruptcy Reporter/Blogger looking forward to chronicling regional revitalization on-air, digitally and through community engagement.   Follow @WDETSandra

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