Diego Rivera Mural at the DIA
Jason Mrachina/Flickr

Anywhere on the globe you can find urban areas and in those urban areas there exists a vast array of pitfalls misfortunes and missteps that can lead someone to poverty.


The recession of 2007-2008 has shown us that no one is safe from the grips of unforeseen troubles that may contribute to someone or a family falling below the poverty line. In most cases folks are just left to fend for themselves. It beckons one to ask the question is this ideal the right one to have? Can a person/or family really tackle poverty alone? For some this may be possible, but for others tackling their issues may take more help than others.


While the district of Colombia has many programs, the city faces a bigger problem tied to its agencies that help the poor. They do not have organization or unity, the lack of which is probably hurting the city more than any budget cuts or losses that the city incurs.


On January 9, 2013 The Holy Redeemer Catholic church held a class on how to organize the homeless. A good question to ask is how can a city unite itself. The answer would have to be something similar to what the Motor city (aka Detroit) is doing.


The city of Detroit has something called Detroit Action Commonwealth. The DAC is not a service agency it is a Member-led organization. The volunteers and members work together to address immediate hardships that disempowers individual. I have dubbed a new term for an organization like this- a resident’s union/or coalition.


The DAC calls itself a non-profit nonpartisan community organization. It’s mission is to advance justice and human development in all of its dimensions. Some of these dimensions include social, personal or spiritual issues. The DAC started their outreach efforts in soups kitchens in the city of Detroit. Clearly the district is falling short of being a role model city for the nation.


Detroit Action Commonwealth has more than 3,800 individuals who have participated in activities and has more that 1, 400 folks signed up as members of the organization. Mary Jones, who serves on the board of Detroit Action Commonwealth briefly described what actions are taken to address the various issues those experiencing poverty may have. She said that DAC Works one on one with an individual first. The DAC currently has three chapters that conduct weekly meetings to address common issues found throughout the various one on one discussion. A lot of issues turn into campaigns and actions. The DAC also allied with student organization at the university of Michigan.


The bottom line and point of having organizations like the DAC is to gain numbers for issues that are common to the people and make sure that these issues are brought before leadership and addressed Clark Washington who also serves on the board of DAC describe the fight to start a street court outreach to help residents in his county to pay or waive tickets and fees that prevent these residents from obtaining documentation.


Just these few success’ that the DAC has had have sparked an interest and wonder about all the different service agencies in DC. Why are the not working together, and also where is the districts form of Detroit Action Commonwealth?


Hopefully in the near future these questions will turn into the District starting and maintain a coalition for its residents because only together can we make sure that all our issues get addressed and people have a better chance of not falling through the cracks in life that can lead to homelessness and poverty