Two days ago a BYP meeting was held in central detroit at the historic Michigan Bell Building (“Bell Building”). This former Michigan Bell and Western Electric Warehouse is a former commercial warehouse where the two companies stored equipment and vehicles. The buildig, erected in 1929, is now home to Detroit’s Neighborhood Service Organization (NSO). BYP made a trip to learn more about NSO and their operations.

The meeting was held on Feb 1st at 7:00 PM. We thank everyone who made it out in the cold weather! Denise Figurski, Volunteer and Special Events manager  was gracious enough to host. We learned many things about this incredible organization, which works tirelessly to serve the most vulnerable citizens of the city of Detroit.

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So what makes NSO so great?

  • The NSO Bell Building was a completely donation funded renovation operation estimated at a $50M in investment. The money was used to turn the former dilapidated warehouse and office structure into 150 modern and attractive permanent living quarters for the homeless.
  • NSO practices a “housing first” model. This approach focuses on getting a client into stable housing before even thinking about treatment. Remember: Self medicating in the streets is usually a result of mental stress of being homeless. Therefore their approach attacks the root cause first.
  • NSO Bell Building residents are housed indefinitely as long as they are able to maintain paying their rent. There is no “limit” on how long they can stay. Some eventually move on, others stick around.
  • The Bell Building also functions as NSO’s corporate headquarters. From there they manage many key operations in effect throughout the city, including:
    • YouthLink – Youth workforce development program for 14-24
    • Youth Initiatives Project – Building youth into leaders and community activists focused on violence and substance abuse prevention.
    • Life Choices – Services and support for Wayne county residents with developmental disabilities
    • Emergency Telephone/Suicide Hotlines
    • Older Adult Services – Mental health outreach and residential services


Also of particular note, is the amazing hard work they carry out 24/7 at their Tumaini Center.  This Facility is a crisis and support center for the homeless adult population. People come to this location all day long lookin for help in getting support they are in desperate need of. The Tumaini center is not a shelter. There are no beds. Only chairs. They served the most disenfranchised people in Detroit at this location.

To learn more about NSO, please visit their website at