Q & A with David Sampson, CEO

  • Time: 4:29 PM

Tell us a little bit about some of the most recent changes, new programming, or mission driven pi...

  • Tell us a little bit about some of the most recent changes, new programming, or mission driven pivots Mariners Inn has experienced over the past 5 years -- if anything. Any changes you're most excited about?

We are pleased to report that in 2016-17 we embarked on a journey that will position us to help save more lives while providing services that promote long-term recovery: Recovery Housing and Recovery Support Services. Because of our compassionate and knowledgeable approach to treatment, we have implemented these services to prepare the people we serve with the skills necessary to prevent relapse and promote long-term recovery.

  • Many people think Mariners Inn provides just one kind of service -- housing. Talk about some of the other programs you offer and why you offer them. What are you most proud of?

Mariners Inn offers an array of services designed to promote health and well-being as it relates to arresting the disease of addiction and encouraging long-term sobriety. While we do offer emergency shelter, recovery housing, and permanent supportive housing, we primarily focus on substance abuse treatment and recovery support services, as well as prevention. We are most proud of our compassionate culture that helps men prepare for successful reintegration into the community as clean, sober, and productive citizens. Men come to us voluntarily seeking help to battle the disease of addiction and a successful return to dignity and respect. Case management, vocational counseling, prevention, alumni and outreach services help prepare them for long-term success.

  • What makes Mariners Inn essential to the Cass Corridor community?

Mariners Inn has been at its present location since 1955 and has seen the neighborhood drastically change several times over. We have seen the worst of times and the best of times. Through it all, we have remained diligent in our efforts to provide quality substance abuse treatment and recovery services to men who happen to be homeless and suffer from the disease of addiction. We continue to be essential to the community because the work we do is paramount in helping to rebuild the neighborhood. Our residents and staff are respectful members of this community, working to clean up and maintain not just our own property, but Cass Park and the surrounding neighborhood as well. We believe in second chances and that recovery is real; it’s proven on a daily basis through the success stories of the men who enter our doors. There will always be people in need of our services, and the Cass Corridor remains in need because of its proximity to pockets of active addiction and homelessness.

  • There are a lot of rapid changes happening to the development of the neighborhood specifically around the new District. Talk a little about how Mariners Inn is responding to those changes. What challenges have you faced? What are you excited about?

I see Detroit's comeback as an extremely exciting transition that is long overdue. Mariners Inn has always played a vital role in the revitalization of the community from a human service standpoint, returning the men we serve to their communities and families as the best versions of themselves. We plan to continue this work and serve many more men and families in need of a fresh start, or a “comeback” of their own.

  • What are your hopes and dreams for the neighborhood in the next 5 years? Next 20 years? What are important values or lessons Detroit as a whole needs to remember as we continue to develop and move forward?

I believe that the "comeback or revitalization" could include more of the people we serve, simply from the standpoint of including their voices prior to major decisions being made about communities and "districts" that will ultimately impact their daily lives. Additionally, it would help to have a portion of the resources identified for the resurging comeback dedicated for people with more challenging circumstances (i.e, felonies, treatment center episodes, homelessness, etc.)

I think forums inclusive of people with more challenging circumstances (those who are usually voiceless in these discussions) are important as well. I believe that everyone’s voices count, and can contribute to a revitalization that includes everyone. When people are employed, have a sense of hope, and have a place to call their own, they are more likely to be champions of change rather than agitators against revitalization.

  • Any additional comments?

I think major decision-makers and developers should bear in mind that ALL voices count, and that everyone matters in the revitalization of Detroit. The more people you include, the greater the buy-in, and the more empowered people feel when it comes to supporting, as well as defending, decisions that impact the community.

Thanks to Jessica Meyer, Model D, for question development.