The Southwest Detroit Immigrant and Refugee Center was founded as a legal clinic serving Detroit’s Southwest neighborhood. Since the beginning, that clinic has been housed at the Mercado, a community resources hub made possible by the Ford Motor Company Fund. The Ford Fund has been our oldest and most significant partner.
Their partnership with the Southwest Detroit Immigrant and Refugee Center is not just a choice to support an organization doing good work; it is an investment in justice for the communities they serve. Because of the Ford Fund, we can offer legal services at our Southwest and Eastside clinics that are entirely free to our clients. Legal work is not cheap. We provide professional, trustworthy advice that our clients could not access except at great expense. We work with various donors to subsidize the work we do for our clients so that no one has to bear the total cost. For work done at the Southwest and Eastside Legal clinics, the Ford Fund has already paid that full expense.
All this is why we are so excited to announce that in 2021 the Southwest Detroit Immigrant and Refugee Center and the Ford Fund are expanding our partnership! We have always had our Wednesday clinic day in Southwest. In 2018, we added Thursday afternoons at the Eastside clinic. Now, in 2021, we are adding a second clinic day in Southwest! We’re expecting that this effectively doubles the amount of time we can spend with clients in Southwest.
Since our clinics reopened this summer following the pandemic lockdowns, our calendar has been consistently packed. Due to pandemic precautions, we are only able to see clients by appointment. It has been essential for us to continue working with clients throughout the pandemic, yet we are just seeing a fraction of the people we were able to help before the lockdowns. Adding another day will add another 10-15 appointments per week. As the pandemic restrictions are lifted, we will maintain this new day as an appointment-only time for people to come in for more lengthy issues.
Expect to see this day on our calendars starting late March or early April. We are finalizing the scheduling and availability of our staff and volunteers. We are excited to be able to serve clients in-person another day of the week in Southwest Detroit!
The Southwest Detroit Immigrant and Refugee Center provides free and low-cost legal services to those who need them most in the Detroit area, with a focus on recent immigrants and refugees.
We were founded in 2014 by Kevin Piecuch, our Executive Director