Posting: Peer Community Builder - Detroit, MI

March 7, 2023

Peer Community Builder

Central United Methodist Church Community Development Corporation

Have you ever been homeless, or had to keep moving from place to place? Do you wish that there was affordable housing in downtown Detroit and that it would feel like you belonged there? Do you wish that you could use your knowledge and experience to help make this happen? If so, then we want you! Come help us make Detroit’s housing and services better for individuals experiencing homelessness.


Central United Methodist Church of Detroit, long serving as the conscience of the city, has remained devoted to emergent social justice issues and providing a voice for the silenced since its founding in 1810. The Church started addressing the needs of individuals experiencing homelessness and housing instability in the 1970’s by offering a simple bag lunch and a safe space to engage. Alongside its NOAH Project (Networking, Organizing, and Advocating for the Homeless), the church created a Community Development Corporation (CDC) to develop the property adjacent to the church. Its ongoing vision is to be an anchor of hope, leading the Detroit community to end homelessness.

Over the years, the NOAH Project has expanded to include a community center that uses the bag lunch and street outreach as its major engagement strategies. Today, staff provide over 500 lunches per week and support upwards of 30 clients per day in applying for benefits, restoring their State ID, navigating the housing process or providing a listening ear. Recently, the CDC started exploring a wide range of ideas on how to better support people who have experienced long-term homelessness, including the building of permanent supportive housing (PSH). PSH is a combination of deeply affordable housing (that we will build) paired with wraparound supportive services, like case management.

While the CDC is affiliated with the church, it is not a religious-based organization. Staff are not expected to hold any particular beliefs, nor are these beliefs required by clients to participate in our programs and services.


This position is part-time (20 hours/week) and includes proportional benefits. We are looking for someone to help us build power and opportunity for people with lived homelessness experience in order to help our efforts to end homelessness. We use the phrase “lived experience” to differentiate from others who may only have experience working with people who have experienced homelessness. For this position, “lived experience” is considered expertise.


You will report to and work closely with the CDC executive director and work in partnership with the director of the NOAH Project to shape this position. What this means is that your voice and your vision will be able to greatly influence this role and the work you will do. In addition, you’ll have the chance periodically to work alongside our front-line staff to see ways we work with clients to transform their lives. You’ll also be part of a three-person team responsible for creating and implementing an overall community engagement strategy to inform the development of the PSH project.

Specifically, you will:

  • Identify, recruit and engage persons with lived experience to participate as an advisors group for the CDC.
  • Create, together with this advisors group plus the CDC executive director and the development director, an overall community engagement plan for the CDC. While the overall plan will encompass a wide variety of individuals, the focus of the Peer Community Builder will be on working with persons with lived experience.
  • Create agency-wide policies and procedures to ensure that persons with lived experience are consistently compensated for their time and insights.
  • Develop and implement a variety of strategies to obtain input and feedback from persons with lived experience in the work of the CDC.
  • Cultivate persons with lived experience to participate on the CDC board of directors and committees, creating strategies that empower their engagement and support their retention as board and committee members.
  • Provide and/or connect persons with lived experience with ongoing training and skill building-professional development opportunities.

In addition, as a staff member, you will participate in:

  • Weekly staff meetings and other program meetings as needed.
  • One-on-one supervision meetings every week with your supervisor.
  • Regular meetings of the community engagement team.
  • Staff retreats and any professional training tied to your work.
  • Race equity work with CDC staff.


You will be based out of our office at 23 E. Adams at the corner of Woodward and Grand Circus Park in downtown Detroit, MI. Some work can be done from home. The schedule is flexible. We anticipate some evening and weekend work will be required and some activities/meetings will occur in the community, outside of our office.


At the top of the list, we are looking for someone who has lived experience with homelessness. We want someone who has a passion for the work of ending homelessness and the drive and personal initiative to help make it happen. We also want someone who has strong relationship-building skills and who has a creative and self-motivated spirit.

Here’s what is required:

  • High school diploma or equivalency (required); prefer some post-secondary education/training in community organizing, hospitality, social work, public policy or other relevant course of study.
  • Strong communication and facilitation skills.
  • Ability to work independently.
  • Comfort with current communication technology (email, texting, zoom, etc).
  • Two-to-three years of experience in the area of community organizing, customer engagement, or other relevant field. This could include a mix of paid work, internships, and/or volunteer work.

Other things we want:

  • Understanding of homelessness, particularly with those who are experiencing chronic homelessness.
  • Understanding of the issues of mental illness and/or chemical dependency.
  • Interest and experience in working with individuals who struggle with the homelessness system or substance use and/or who have a mental illness.
  • Knowledge of and openness to Housing First and Harm Reduction Principles.
  • Ability to work effectively with diverse populations in a non-judgmental way.
  • Curiosity and an appetite for learning.


We are committing our best efforts to be a culture of caring around staff members’ physical, mental and emotional health. We support this via the following:

  • A pay of $20/hour.
  • Benefits of medical, dental, vision, and life insurance plus a 3% IRA (Individual Retirement Account) match that are proportional to hours worked. If you’re concerned that any of these might create problems for you with any existing benefits you have, please don’t let that stop you from applying. We will work with you as best we can to make it work.
  • Three weeks of paid time off (vacation and sick time) proportional to hours worked.
  • Technology needed to support your role.
  • Onboarding plan and training to ensure you start the position with the knowledge and resources you need to thrive in the role.
  • Ongoing training and skill building opportunities paid by us.
  • Regular meetings with your supervisor to discuss progress, solve problems and remove barriers.
  • Weekly staff meetings over lunch to talk about what’s happening, where support is needed and how team members can support each other.
  • An openness to other ways of doing things in order to best support ourselves and each other.
  • An extremely supportive team that includes the CDC executive director, the NOAH Project director and other staff who are also doing community engagement who want you to succeed and will help you get there.


Please email your resume in pdf format to and a cover letter by March 31, 2023. In the cover letter, please tell us what sparked your interest in applying and what you will bring to this position. We want to know! Also, feel free to send us a video in place of the cover letter if you’d prefer.

The CDC is an equal opportunity employer. We will not discriminate and will take affirmative action measures to ensure against discrimination in employment, compensation, termination, promotions, and other conditions of employment against any employee or job applicant on the basis of race, color, gender, national origin, age, religion, creed, disability, veteran's status, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, height or weight. Individuals who are currently experiencing homelessness or have experienced homelessness in the past are encouraged to apply


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