DETROIT — A civil rights group has set up about two dozen tents along a Detroit street to provide shelter for the homeless and highlight poverty in the city.
The tents are part of the Detroit Southern Christian Leadership Conference Poor People’s Campaign, the organization’s president, the Rev. Aaron McCarthy, said Tuesday.
McCarthy says the one-person tents have been up about four days on the city’s east side. He says the homeless in the area arrive at night to bed down out of the elements.
“SCLC cannot ignore the ugly reality that over 40 percent of Detroit lives in poverty in need of the basics such as food, clothing, shelter and health care,” McCarthy said.
The U.S. Census Bureau announced last week that Detroit’s 2016 poverty rate had dropped to 35.7 percent, down from nearly 40 percent the year before. It’s still the highest rate among the nation’s 20 largest cities.
The poverty threshold for a family of four is $24,563. The national poverty rate was 14 percent last year.
McCarthy said he believes Detroit’s poverty rate is higher than the census estimates.
People who use the tents receive food. Socks were donated Monday.
The tents will remain as long as possible and could be moved to other parts of the city, McCarthy added.
The city’s homeless population has been shrinking, according to a count earlier this year. Fewer than 2,100 people were identified as homeless in a January count. More than 1,800 of them made use of city shelters. About 2,300 people were counted as being homeless in January 2016, according to the city.