Marvin Walker was raised in a house with 20 people, watching his parents try to provide for everyone and ultimately becoming homeless. He wanted to make sure no one else has to go through what he did, so in August of 2022, Marvin founded Elite Focus Community Outreach, Inc., a Detroit-based organization that assists homeless children and young adults in foster care. Elite Focus provides emergency and temporary housing with supportive services including tutoring, life skill workshops, entrepreneurship classes and more.
The organization started by housing kids who had aged out of the foster care system. Many of these foster kids had lived in the system all their lives, with nowhere else to go. It soon transitioned into a homeless shelter to fill the need during “warming season,” the period from April through September when government-supported shelters close due to lack of funding.
“Our goal is to expand as much as possible and continue providing services that aren’t available at other shelters,” said Marvin. “We put our residents in a variety of mandatory classes that will help prepare them for life on their own. Even after they move out of the shelter, we transition them to their own place and into a two-year program to ensure they will live a better life and never be homeless again.”
Elite Focus is currently self-funded and looking for sponsors, but the organization has still made a significant impact in its short life. It can currently house 165 individuals in its facilities; has transitioned more than 60 kids and young adults from homelessness to earning their high school diploma or GED and living on their own; and has even founded a landscaping company to provide job opportunities for shelter residents.
“I want our residents to find their purpose in life,” said Marvin. “If we can work together to help them succeed, that’s everything. There are a lot of people that can make it out there but they’re waiting on somebody or something. That’s us.”
The organization also recently enrolled in DTE’s MIGreenPower program, enabling Elite Focus to attribute a percentage of its electricity use to Michigan-made wind and solar energy. MIGreenPower, currently available to any DTE Electric customer at no additional cost, is helping Elite Focus expand their impact beyond Detroit and create a more sustainable future for all Michiganders by putting more clean energy on the grid. The organization joins more than 1,500 businesses and nearly 100,000 residential customers who are using MIGreenPower to reduce their environmental impact.
“MIGreenPower makes it easy for everyone to benefit from renewable energy and create a cleaner Michigan for all residents,” said Marvin. “Here at Elite Focus we are proud to be a part of the program and know that we are making a difference for future generations.”
Learn more about Elite Focus at www.youtube.com/@Elitefocus2024.
Learn more about MIGreenPower at www.migreenpower.com.