Community Action Agencies play a vital role in community development

Community-based organizations/agencies are critical to development in southeastern Michigan. In the City of Detroit, these organizations have provided a myriad of community services from gardening to health care to housing redevelopment and construction.

Community development organizations/agencies play a vital role in urban neighborhood development. In many instances, their development efforts may be the difference between a neighborhood that is on the redevelopment track and one that is in a state of continued decline.  One notable such organization is the Wayne Metropolitan Community Action agency, commonly known as Wayne Metro.

Wayne Metro Community Action Agency was established in 1971. Their primary role is to provide services to low income residents in all of the communities in the County of Wayne except Detroit.  Detroit has its own network of community-based agencies and organizations.  The organization is part of a national network of 1000 such agencies and a part of the 30 Michigan-based Community Action Agencies. Their mission is very consistent with their activities: “to empower low-income people and strengthen communities through diverse services, leadership, and collaboration”.    

The organization had a 2011 total budget of approximately 28 million dollars. During the same reporting period, Wayne Metro reached more than 12,000 individuals with their programs and services. The organization boasts that 96 percent of its 2011 revenue was used for direct program delivery.   While the organization provides a variety of programs and activities, their primary focus areas can be summed up in five key program areas; homeless and housing services, youth and family programs, basic needs, community development, and stability and life skills. Another key to the non-profit’s success is its subsidiaries. Wayne Metro has four subsidiaries that generated 12 percent of the agency’s revenue for the 2011 reporting period.

The Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency is one of the best examples of community-based organizations working to improve the lives of limited-income families in Wayne County.  Their longevity is a testament to their overall effectiveness. Such agencies are critical in low-income communities where local governments may lack the staff and capacity to revitalize urban neighborhoods and provide the needed services and programs its residents. For more information about community rejuvination efforts, visit the Michigan State University Extension website.

Facts and figures for this article were taken from the Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency 2012 Annual Report. For more information about their program and services contact them at (734) 284-6999.

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