Our History

Southwest Solutions was founded in 1970 by Monsignor Clement Kern (1907-1983), the legendary pastor of Most Holy Trinity in southwest Detroit. Kern was known as the “conscience of Detroit” because of his passionate commitment to helping the poor and disenfranchised.

Clem Kern’s deep passion still animates our organization.

Southwest Solutions began as a mental health agency. In the wake deinstitutionalization, Southwest’s mission was to help the mentally ill live in the community by providing psychiatric counseling and medication.

John Van Camp has been with Southwest Solutions since its beginning. He started as an administrative assistant and became head of the organization in 1981, a position he still holds. John advocated expanding the vision of Southwest Solutions. He believed that reintegrating the mentally ill and homeless into the community also required providing decent, affordable housing and support services, and actively participating in neighborhood revitalization and economic development.

John’s broad vision delineated the future of our organization.

Our programs help those who were at the margins of society turn the page and write new chapters of resilience and purpose. These countless stories of renewed hope are the living history of Southwest Solutions.

Historic Lithuanian Hall in southwest Detroit was built in the 1920s and was the social center of two different immigrant and ethnic communities before it sat vacant for 15 years. The building was renovated by Southwest Housing Solutions in 2006 and symbolizes a community renaissance. Read More >>


Southwest Counseling Solutions has served the southwest Detroit community since 1970. Last year (2013), we helped more than 16,000 individuals and families improve their lives through our four Centers of Excellence: Adult Counseling Services; Early Childhood and Family Literacy; Children, Youth and Families; and Supportive Housing.

Southwest Counseling Solutions is a 501(c)(3) that employs more than 240 staff persons. They represent the fields of psychiatry, psychology, social work, counseling and education. We are one of the largest providers of bilingual services in the state, and offer all of our services in both English and Spanish.

In all its Centers of Excellence, Southwest Counseling Solutions is consistently recognized for its leadership, expertise and excellence. At the same time, we are known for our collaboration with numerous community partners to expand and enhance the services in all program areas.


Southwest Housing Corporation is a nonprofit housing entity established by Southwest Solutions in 1996. Our commitment to providing quality and affordable housing to people in need dates back to 1979. We firmly believe that decent housing is a precondition of individual, family and community wellbeing.

Southwest Housing Solutions is the largest multifamily developer in southwest Detroit. We are replacing blight and abandonment with residential and commercial assets, strategically developed to anchor and spur neighborhood revitalization.

Our development projects are transforming the area we serve. We are a mission-based organization, and our mission is to build community through a compassionate, enterprising and collaborative spirit.


About Southwest Counseling Solutions