Southwest Solutions has been named a Green Organization by NeighborWorks America for its keen environmental practices in affordable housing, workforce development, community development and its entire operations and culture.
The designation recognizes a NeighborWorks network member that incorporates healthy and sustainable principles into every facet of the organization to benefit in multiple ways the individuals, families and community that it serves.
Southwest Solutions has been a NeighborWorks Chartered Member since 2006. NeighborWorks was created by Congress to provide opportunities for lower-income people to live in affordable homes in safe and sustainable neighborhoods.NeighborWorks has more than 240 members across the country, and it has designated 42 of them as Green Organizations.
“In receiving NeighborWorks America’s green designation, these organizations show that green business practices are a triple win for business, family budgets and communities,” said Eileen Fitzgerald, chief executive officer of NeighborWorks America.
The designation includes using green construction methods, but goes well beyond this. It involves working to improve the health, quality of life, financial security, and sense of empowerment and engagement of residents.
“Southwest Solutions has made a comprehensive commitment to sustainable practices in all of our lines of business and we are honored to be named a NeighborWorks Green Organization,” said Tim Thorland, executive director of Southwest Housing Solutions.
In recognizing Southwest Solutions, NeighborWorks noted in particular Detroit GreenWorks Solutions, which provided job training and placement in green industries such as weatherization and landscaping. Southwest Solutions was the lead partner in GreenWorks – a collaboration of nonprofit organizations, educational institutions, government agencies and businesses. GreenWorks helped 250 individuals find jobs, generated more than $10M in economic value for the community, and won national acclaim as a model of best practices.
The NeighborWorks Green Organization designation is one of many honors that Southwest Solutions has received for its green and sustainable developments and projects. These honors include:
- Piquette Square for Veterans received the 2010 Phoenix Award for National Community Impact, which is the nation’s highest honor for excellence in brownfield redevelopment.
- Lithuanian Hall is the first building in Detroit to be certified by the LEED® Green Building Rating System for a rehabilitation project.
Among other significant green accomplishments, Southwest Solutions has:
- Rehabilitated 24 multi-story buildings in southwest Detroit, including 22 apartment buildings of quality affordable housing, preserving the historical character and unique architecture of each building, while at the same time using the latest green construction techniques.
- Revitalized a century-old Albert Kahn designed warehouse on Michigan Avenue, maintaining its historic integrity and maximizing the use of green materials and technologies. The building, called 5716 Wellness, is now a integrated healthcare center that serves thousands of low-income residents.
- Renovated and re-purposed an abandoned police station to become a center for the arts and horticulture. This development project, like many others undertaken by Southwest Solutions, involved considerable environmental remediation.
- Developed the new Mack-Ashland project as an Enterprise Green Community, meaning that its construction meets specific criteria to provide significant health, economic and environmental benefits to the low-income families that reside in the 39-unit building.
- Developed the new Scotten Park Townhomes so that the project qualifies as “Enterprise Green Certified.” All 32 units are highly energy efficient, helping families save on utility bills.
- Facilitated a deconstruction program to remove housing blight, salvage and recycle materials, and create local jobs. The program is a partnership of Wayne County, nonprofit agencies, and others.
- Organized and led since 2007 an annual Neighborhood Beautification Day in southwest Detroit that attracts hundreds of volunteers to plant trees and gardens, clean lots and parks, paint and board up homes, remove graffiti, and enhance the residential environment.
These are highlights of Southwest Solutions dedication to sustainability and environmental sensitivity – a devotion that characterizes every project that the organization pursues.