Cody Rouge: A Community with Heart and Impact
Cody Rouge is home to 36,849 residents, 12,183 of whom are 18 and under.
My fondest memories growing up on Detroit’s west side in Cody Rouge are sitting on the porch talking to the older adults who lived on the block and playing with my friends until the street lights came on. Adults were caring. Streets were clean. Trees stood tall. Our schools were strong.
Over the years, I have seen Cody Rouge at its best and its worst. I am committed to this community, its children and its families.
10 Years of Action
I am honored to support my community as the executive director of the Cody Rouge Community Action Alliance. Birthed in 2009, the CRCAA works to revitalize and sustain a healthy community where residents have access to a high-quality of life through three core areas: youth development, community engagement, and neighborhood stabilization. Our programs include community organizing, a youth council, summer youth employment, and a slew of resources such as zero percent interest loans, property tax assistance, and funding for minor home repairs and beautification.
While Cody Rouge has had its share of adversity and blight, it possesses a collective determination to become Detroit’s next walkable, premier community. We have quality housing stock, eye-pleasing landscapes, a stable business sector, historical churches, and an enhanced Rouge Park. Our greatest assets, however, are the people who reside in this community.
CRCAA has always been driven by community members. In 2017, with the help of Community Development Advocates of Detroit (CDAD), CRCAA launched an eight-month, community-wide planning process to develop a community plan. Community meetings, focus groups, and surveys gathered feedback from residents of all ages, local businesses, nonprofit organizations, the faith community, and government officials. From this input, residents established a community vision focused on a set of seven neighborhood priorities: youth development, neighborhood stabilization, safety, land use, being a welcoming community, strengthening commercial corridors, and supporting community-based groups.
The bold community plan and history of resident engagement in Cody Rouge attracted the interest of General Motors, Quicken Loans, DTE Energy, and The Skillman Foundation. This partnership, referred to as the Cody Rouge Initiative, has contributed to the community’s work in a number of ways, including:
- In- and out-of-school programs for youth including reading, math, STEM, skilled trades, summer employment, and leadership development
- School and housing rehabilitation
- Neighborhood beautification, including the development of Stein Park
- Funding to support resident planning process
Additionally, the Cody Rouge-Warrendale community has been selected as one of 11 sites for investment from the City of Detroit’s Strategic Neighborhood Fund. The development plans created for Cody Rouge will not only be resident-informed, but also child-centered, as our community is focused on child and family well-being.
Our Youth Own the Future
I am proud of what has been accomplished in Cody Rouge and have become keenly aware of what got us this far: our sense of ownership. I know in order to keep progressing we must pass down our strong sense of ownership to our community’s young people. That’s why the CRCAA maintains a strong youth council and includes young people in our decision making.
I want our children to know they own their future; to give them the support and the freedom they need to dream big, and the tools to make their dreams a reality.