Founded in 1982, Coalition on Temporary Shelter (COTS) is a private, non-profit organization that provides emergency shelter, transitional and permanent housing, as well as comprehensive support services for homeless families and the at-risk population. COTS mission is to alleviate homelessness by providing an array of services which enable people to achieve self-sufficiency and obtain quality affordable housing.

The Challenge

The city of Detroit is experiencing a great revitalization. Young professionals are flocking to the city to live and work; new restaurants and business are opening at a seemingly unprecedented pace; yet homelessness and unemployment remain persistent problems. While several local mission-driven organizations serve the homeless population of Detroit, most are focused on providing emergency shelter instead of addressing the root cause of these pervasive social problems. COTS is different. Using its Passport to Self-SufficiencyTM (PTS), COTS seeks to break the intergenerational cycle of poverty among the homeless. COTS assists clients attain stable housing while simultaneously improving access to healthcare, education, employment and financial literacy. This holistic approach helps clients remove critical social barriers and achieve long-term sustainability. COTS is working to ensure that the children it serves today will not need its services as adults tomorrow.

How we Helped

Mission Throttle confirmed COTS’ strategic objectives and organizational vision; assessed COTS’ current business / program models; and conducted a Visioning Session with COTS’ Executive Team and other representative stakeholders. It assisted COTS to create an aspirational vision and to analyze its market need, impact, feasibility, and alignment.  Mission Throttle then worked with COTS to identify four promising social enterprise opportunities that could allow it to grow in scale, impact and financial health.

“Admitting we have opportunities for growth is everything. It has made the difference between offering emergency shelter and offering a life-changing opportunity.”

— Cheryl P. Johnson, CEO for Coaltion On Temporary Shelter