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Detroit used to be the thriving “Motor City” but now the unemployment rate is over 24%. As infrastructure crumbles, a free clinic is assisting the unemployed and uninsured who are determined to stay in their homes. Reed Galin reports.
(Locator: Detroit, Michigan)
Detroit, Michigan was once the car manufacturing capital of the world. Now, the city has lost two-thirds of its population. Sherri Jessup has lived here all her life.
Sherri Jessup: “So many houses are burned out and abandoned. And people have lost their homes to foreclosure. You don’t see kids playing like you used to.”
Jessup makes a good living as a nurse practitioner in an affluent suburb but home is her longtime neighborhood where she volunteers at a free clinic run by her church.
Jessup: "Can you show me exactly where the pain is?"
Patient: "Oh, the bottom of my foot. The buckshot came out the top…some of them did, but I still got six of them that’s in there."
The Joy Southfield Clinic was founded by Second Grace United Methodist Church. In 2009, volunteer healthcare providers treated 4,000 patients and filled 6,000 prescriptions.
Kathia Rosario lives four blocks away. She was once a patient; now she volunteers as a medical assistant.
Kathia Rosario: "I see the look in their face because they don't have no insurance. They can't pay for pills."
Darryl Freeman has seven children and nowhere else to turn for health care.
Darryl Freeman: “This neighborhood turned into a ghost town and this clinic gives us hope, gives people hope.”
Clinic director Charissa Showcroft says the staff has found extra ways to look out for the health of neighbors.
Charissa Shawcroft, Joy Southfield Clinic: “We’ve started an exercise program. We set up a gym with exercise equipment. We’ve started a couple of different community gardens in the neighborhood.”
At a time when so many are deserting Detroit, clinic staff says they will not abandon this area.
Sherri Jessup: "The reason I keep coming back is because of the patients and I know they need me and if I am not here who is going to be here?"
Patient to Jessup: “If it wasn’t for this place I’d be dead. (hug) Thank you so much. I really appreciate it.”
For more information about the Joy Southfield Clinic, call 313-581-7773.
The clinic receives funding from United Methodist Women.
Posted: August 10, 2010
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