DETROIT — With an estimated 34,000 homeless people in the metro Detroit area, a portion of the population has been displaced and in need of help.
Red Wings forward Tomas Jurco is doing his part in helping those in need by donating $100 for every goal he scores during the 2014-15 season to aid the Coalition on Temporary Shelter (COTS). The Detroit area refuge provides emergency shelter, transitional housing and comprehensive support services for the homeless and at-risk population.
“I know I always felt bad for people without homes and it’s cold outside but that’s only one thing,” Jurco said. “To be outside all days, all weeks, I know some people maybe made some mistakes to (end up) on the streets.”
Since 1982, COTS has been committed to serving the most vulnerable members of the Detroit community and helps alleviate homelessness by providing an array of services that enable people to achieve self-sufficiency and obtain quality, affordable housing.
The organization manages multiple facilities with a staff of more than 90 people and an annual budget in excess of $7 million. Annually, COTS serves more than 2,000 Detroit area homeless citizens in its emergency shelter and approximately 450 individuals and families in transitional and permanent housing programs.
Recently, COTS became a family-only shelter, meaning that any open spaces in the shelter are being filled with families in need.
Letting his on-ice performance dictate the monetary amount, Jurco’s contribution is a unique way of donating to a local cause in Detroit. However, he said it could add to the pressures of scoring goals and performing well.
“Yea, I would feel better if I score more because if I don’t score I don’t help them that much but yea it was something that I thought I could help with and it’s a good thing.”
In 36 games as a rookie last season, Jurco recorded eight goals but just two goals through his first 37 games this season. His contribution is just the tip of the iceberg of the Red Wings organization efforts to aid the homeless in Detroit.
Partnered with COTS, the Wings held its 21st Motor City Mitten Madness event that takes place annually at a designated home game in November of each year. The event collects winter clothing and monetary donations from fans as they enter Joe Louis Arena. On November 26, Wings fans contributed 405 pieces of winter clothing and $268 prior to the game against the Philadelphia Flyers.
According to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Annual Homeless Assessment from 2008, Michigan is fifth in the country in terms of homeless residents meaning that a large portion of the population is in need of support. Jurco and the Wings continue to provide assistance to the homeless and to join in the team’s efforts, visit cotsdetroit.org for more information how others can contribute.