From homelessness to stability: Pope Francis Center opens new campus in Detroit

DETROIT (FOX 2) - A new Pope Francis Center (PFC) building in Detroit has opened, dedicated to improving the lives of the homeless.

The "first of its kind" Bridge Housing Campus on Hancock Street near Warren Avenue is a "$40 million facility that provides comprehensive transitional services under one roof," according to a news release from PFC.

City, state and organization officials gathered on Monday to celebrate the opening of the new campus with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

"Putting people in a house or apartment before addressing issues such as substance abuse or mental health doesn’t work for everybody," said Fr. Tim McCabe, PFC's president and CEO. "Our facility is a game-changer in how it allows those experiencing homelessness to have agency in their own healing. They decide how they want to progress, while we give them the support necessary to chart a better path in life."

<div>Fr. Tim McCabe, SJ, president and CEO of the Pope Francis Center</div> <strong>(Provided by Todd Nissen)</strong>
Fr. Tim McCabe, SJ, president and CEO of the Pope Francis Center
(Provided by Todd Nissen)

The building, which will also become PFC's new headquarters, features a number of services to help the homeless – such as substance abuse rehab, mental health assistance and job training.

"The 60,000 square-foot Bridge Housing Campus sits on 5.3 acres of land in Detroit’s Core City neighborhood. In addition to 40 furnished studio apartments, the facility features a gymnasium, commercial kitchen, free medical and dental clinic, library and classrooms, barbershop, and space for family gatherings and special events," according to the news release.

The campus even boasts heated sidewalks and an overhang outside the building to accommodate people who are not ready to come inside and seek help.

"The Bridge Housing Campus will be another example of how Detroit and its partners are creating pathways from homelessness to affordable housing," said Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan.

The establishment plans on welcoming its first group of residents in late June, though the timeline may shift if the selection process requires more time.

<div>Michigan Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist II joined officials during the ribbon-cutting of the new Pope Francis Center housing campus.</div> <strong>(Provided by Todd Nissen)</strong>
Michigan Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist II joined officials during the ribbon-cutting of the new Pope Francis Center housing campus.
(Provided by Todd Nissen)