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New digital platform connects Northwest Detroiters to vital resources

Detroit, Human Services

Residents in several Northwest Detroit neighborhoods are now able to reach an innovative and dynamic directory of support services — from housing to childcare to job training — on their phones, laptops and desktop computers through the efforts of Detroit’s Live6 Alliance and the social technology nonprofit Alluma.

Alluma, which works to transform the country’s safety net system, operates the One Degree service, a community resource database and referral platform that makes it easy for anyone to instantly see what local services they are eligible for and apply for them, all in one place, via web portal or smart phone app.

Today, this innovative service is rolling out to serve the Live6 community in Northwest Detroit.

“Particularly in a time of pandemic and economic disruption, the critical services that many residents turn to should be easily accessible — the search for help should not be overwhelming,” said Live6 Alliance Executive Director Geneva J. Williams. “The platform is designed to put users just one degree of separation from the services they need. One Degree will help residents connect with the full array of services such as healthcare, employment assistance or mental health resources to support their needs today and into the future.”

The platform and services will be available in the Fitzgerald, Bagley, University District and Martin Park neighborhoods around the Livernois and McNichols corridors which define the Live6 Alliance community.

The introduction of Alluma’s One Degree platform to Detroit is funded by The Kresge Foundation’s Detroit and Human Services programs as a pilot program for possible wider use.The 9-year-old One Degree platform is already in use in the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles County in California, New York City, Southwest New Mexico, and Gainesville, Florida, and is free to use by anyone at any time.

The story of how One Degree has come to Detroit began roughly a year ago when Live6 Alliance and Ramona Washington, Unit Director for the AmeriCorps Urban Safety Program at Wayne State University, began working with the Detroit Public Health Department, Detroit Public Works and Detroit community nonprofits to launch COVID-19 needs assessment surveys.

“Through these surveys, we sought to understand and respond to needs identified in a survey of residents,” says Washington. “The survey data regarding access to a personal physician, experience of COVID-19 symptoms, or barriers to testing allowed us to understand immediate public health needs for residents and economic support needs for small businesses,” she added.

Live6 Alliance, Wayne State University, The Kresge Foundation and One Degree utilized these findings and seized the opportunity to collaborate on this initiative to connect Northwest Detroit to an innovative platform of support services.

“We know that people who need help often spend 20 or more hours per week trying to find out what’s available to them, and then spend several hours more figuring out if they can get that help,” said Rey Faustino, One Degree’s founder. “And then they often have to spend more time with duplicative processes just to get the help they need – one for food assistance, another for affordable housing, and yet another for other basic needs like mental health services – adding on chronic stress to an already stressful moment in people’s lives that often leads many to just give up. By partnering together, we are able to create a solution that will serve as a one-stop-shop for people who may be struggling to fulfill a variety of needs.

“I am excited to see that One Degree is continuing to provide this service that has touched millions of residents in other cities around the country and I am looking forward to serving the Northwest Detroit community,” said Faustino.

“Alluma’s One Degree platform aligns with Live6 Alliance’s ongoing mission to create better infrastructure with superior public safety and health initiatives while providing value through education and community resources,” added Live6 Alliance’s Williams. “We see it being embraced as an essential tool for residents of Northwest Detroit.”

The One Degree Directory provides an opportunity to strengthen the social infrastructure of the neighborhood by equipping residents with the knowledge and information needed to live vibrant lives. The goal of the platform is to provide at-your-fingertips access to life-improving resources and support services,” said Live6 Alliance Director of Strategic Partnerships and Special Programs, Caitlin Murphy.

“With the ongoing support of The Kresge Foundation, this directory will become an essential tool for the residents of Northwest Detroit,” she added. According to Murphy, Live6 will be working on a number of grassroots communications and distribution efforts to ensure the utilization of this powerful resource bank.

In an effort to educate the community on how to utilize the platform, Live6 will hold several virtual community forums and webinars, display yard signs throughout the neighborhoods with useful information and share messaging on the Live6 Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn platforms.