Focus: HOPE Main Building located at 1400 Oakman Blvd, Detroit, Michigan.

Focus: HOPE continues to impact Detroit

The COVID-19 pandemic didn’t stop Focus: HOPE, a non-profit organization, from supporting Detroit residents. Early Childhood Specialist for Focus: HOPE Juan Ruiz said, “We were really comprehensive in our COVID protocols, we worked closely with the state, the county and the city before we opened up anything.”

Impact on volunteers

With COVID cases increasing, the stay-at-home order and people leaving jobs, Focus: HOPE was worried about a decrease in its volunteers. “We were concerned that we would lose our volunteers,” said Kubik. “We lost a lot of our corporate groups because their businesses worked from home, but we gained many individuals who were sent home from work, had time to get away for a few hours and came and helped us out, so we never really missed a beat with the volunteers.”

Impact on seniors

With the stay at home order in place, it urged families to not leave the house unless it was to go to the grocery store, pharmacy, engage in outdoor activities or go to the hospitals. With these rules in place, many seniors didn’t want to leave the house, which caused Focus: HOPE to think of a solution for getting the food boxes to the seniors. 

“We would get calls from seniors who were afraid to leave the house because of the stay-at-home order,” said Kubik.

Detroit housing market sees surge

The demand for houses has been on a steady rise since in-person activities have returned, however, the number of houses hasn’t increased, making it a seller’s market in Detroit. Home sellers are ready to welcome buyers to browse and sell to the highest bidder. 

“We had a week of open houses, but we got an offer on like the third day,” said Leah Yankee, a resident of North Rosedale Park. “Several people told me it would go fast but it went very quickly.” 

Yankee sold her home in July and said buying her current home was just as competitive as selling her previous home. 

“I do know that home prices are high right now, and our home was considered a ‘hot home’,” said Yankee. “My understanding seems to be North Rosedale Park is maybe getting a little hip, but there was somebody else that looked at it before us and we were very anxious.” 

United States housing market patterns by the National Association of Realtors

Byron Suggs, a realtor and mortgage specialist at Paramount Mortgage Group, said the housing shortage is due to a buildup of demand without distributing any supply for about a year. 

“It’s a seller’s market like never seen before,” said Suggs. “I think the main thing is it’s taken a long time to catch up from the lack of inventory started last year.” 

Suggs said for the past year sellers haven’t been comfortable allowing buyers into their homes and buyers haven’t been comfortable purchasing without seeing the house in person. 

“The thing is, with the way the market is, you got a nice home and put it on the market, you’re going to get several offers over the weekend,” said Suggs.

Detroit bookstore struggles to survive COVID-19

Pages, a small locally-owned bookshop in Detroit. Susan Murphy is the owner of Pages, a small bookstore in Detroit. Pages, its publishers, and its property management came to a halt with the hold placed on in person operations. “March 16, I will never forget that day, that’s when I closed the store,” said Murphy. Inside of Pages, you can find tons of books and a cat named Pip.

Record-breaking rainfall causes flooding in Wayne County

Wayne County has been taken by storm, literally. One stormy day caused power outages, flooding, and property damage throughout the county. Bianca Stokes had experienced flooding in her Detroit home before, but it never gets easier. “As far as the flooding, our basement hasn’t flooded since 2014, when we had the last big flood,” said Stokes, a resident of the west side of Detroit. Stokes’s basement took the brunt of the damage.

Juneteenth, a “part of history that was skipped,” becomes national holiday

People in Detroit expressed their passion for the holiday Juneteenth. From mural paintings to graffiti art for sale. Some asked themselves if the holiday is worth celebrating considering how one celebrates Black History in February. 

Terrence Washington said it’s time Juneteenth gets its proper recognition. “I think we should make it feel like a relevant holiday because it’s a piece of our history that was skipped and not taught in elementary, middle, or high school,” said Washington, 19, from Detroit Michigan. “We were only taught about the stealing and massacring of our people.”

Juneteenth, or Jubilee Day, is a holiday celebrated in the United States. It highlights African American culture and how enslaved people were notified of their freedom.

Detroit parents consider masking requirement for fall

Photo of Bates Academy Elementary School. Photo by Serenity Smith

Detroit natives convey mixed reviews of the mask mandate getting lifted. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced that the COVID-19 restrictions would be lifted on June 22. Those who have not been vaccinated are still required to wear a face mask while those who have are required to wear them in certain establishments. You must still remain 6-feet apart.

Detroit ice cream stores face obstacles amid pandemic, keep moving forward

Courtesy of Zahra Saad of The Custard HutHot Waffle Sandwiches sold by The Custard Hut of Dearborn Heights, Michigan

Zahra Saad was startled by the reactions when she announced the opening of her business, the Custard Hut. “When we opened on April 10, I received multiple death threats, multiple threats on my business and actually had people calling the cops to try to shut me down, but we were allowed to be open,” said Saad. For many people, ice cream is the go-to staple of the summer. But during a global pandemic that limits face-to-face interaction and differing opinions by the public and business owners alike about when the appropriate time is to open a store, the sweet treat has undergone a lot of changes these past few months. Several Detroit ice cream stores were forced to close down because of the shelter in place order that was effective March 24.