Flinn Grant Partner Spotlight: Cass Community Social Services

From serving 700,000 meals to 300 homeless people each year to operating free medical clinics and day programs for more than 100 adults with developmental disabilities, Cass Community Social Services is dedicated to helping those less fortunate in the community thrive.   

“CCSS is a Detroit-based agency with a person-centered philosophy, dedicated to providing food, housing, health services and job programs,” says Erica George, deputy director at Cass Community Social Services. “CCSS truly embodies meeting the service needs of the community, fighting poverty, creating opportunities and building the community.”

In order to better serve the community, CCSS turned to the Flinn Foundation for two grants. First, CCSS received $100,000 for a two-year grant from January 2020 until December 2021, and then the agency received $50,000 for a one-year grant from January-December 2022. The most recent grant allowed CCSS to implement a Resident Peer Support Training Program, which includes the creation of a training workbook so that future staff can maintain the program within CCSS, George notes.

“Peer support programs are highly effective and more important than ever during the pandemic,” says Andrea Cole, executive director and CEO of the Flinn Foundation.

The support training helps clients adapt to the changes brought on by COVID-19 in a healthy way, George notes. 

“The Flinn Foundation grant allowed CCSS to implement a Mentor Peer-to-Peer program, which starts with rating the levels of stress due to COVID-19 and any other stressors identified,” George says. “Throughout, the Peer to Peer experience, each client improved their stress level and their mental clarity over the period, along with learning techniques to assist each other. The Resident Peer Support trainer has implemented group and individual support, activities, daily card reminders, attends training, engage in conflict resolution and career development for staff.”

Each year, the Ethel & James Flinn Foundation provides grants to southeast Michigan organizations who are doing their part to promote mental health awareness, access and understanding.