Our mission

community impact

The NOAH Project operates a Community Center in downtown Detroit for people living on the streets. Offering lunch four days a week, one-on-one social services, physical health counseling, empowerment-based programming, and emergency needs, we strive to build a family support system for those who come to us.

We believe that change comes through positive, trusting relationships.

At NOAH, we support individuals by developing trusting relationships founded upon acceptance — acceptance of who that person is. When acceptance is combined with compassion and honesty, it builds trust. By creating an environment founded on trusting relationships, we develop a family for people so they have the support necessary to change and grow.

“Everyone had a big heart. That’s exactly what I needed — a head start and a helping hand.” -- Brian, NOAH client

History

Central United Methodist Church

In 1976, members of Central United Methodist Church saw that people in their community needed food. Responding to this basic need, church members began offering a Bag Lunch to anyone who came to their door twice per week, on Mondays and Thursdays. This program, now nearly 40 years old, remains the cornerstone of the NOAH Project.

In 1999, realizing that people needed more than just a lunch, Central partnered with Family Service, Inc. and created the NOAH Project (Networking, Organizing, and Advocating for the Homeless). NOAH began offering social services and physical health counseling.

In 2003, NOAH was transferred to the Central United Methodist Church of Detroit Community Development Corporation, our 501(c) 3. In 2014, responding to the coldest and snowiest winter in Detroit’s history, NOAH opened wide its doors and created the NOAH Community Center. We extended our hours and are now open to people from 9:00am to 2:00pm Monday through Thursday. NOAH also expanded its Bag Lunch Program to serve lunch on all four days. This growth has spurred the creation of the Community Center.

Board of Directors

In 2003, members of Central United Methodist Church created the Central UMC of Detroit Community Development Corporation (CDC). Their original purpose in organizing the CDC was to develop property adjacent to the church building.

After several years of planning their development, the recession of 2008 undermined market demand and fundamentally altered community development opportunities within the city. Central United Methodist CDC decided to table its development plans and focus instead on services to prevent foreclosures and to strengthen the NOAH Project, which pre-dates the CDC and has been well known and respected in the community for many years.

Today, Central United Methodist CDC is refocused and re-energized, as the agency looks to expand its work on behalf of the homeless through the work of the NOAH Project. Its board is comprised of church members, community residents, and former NOAH clients.

Community Image
  • President

    Carl Herrell

  • Vice President

    Carolyn Elliot

  • Secretary

    Colleen Robar

  • Treasurer

    Paul Agosta

  • Board of Directors

    Angela Bakely

    Michael Gerber

    Jason Gilmore

    Arthur Park

    Patricia Pearson

    Paul Perez

    Celeste Rabaut

    Tom Robinson

    Susan Shirkey

    Dyane Townley

    Don Williams

    Jill Zundel

Amy Brown

Amy Brown

Executive Director

Originally from Alabama, Amy graduated from Birmingham Southern College in 2004. She then made her way north to Detroit and to the NOAH Project as a US-2 Missionary, a two year volunteer program through the United Methodist Church. After completing her time as a US-2, Amy received her Masters in Social Work from Wayne State University while continuing to work part-time at NOAH. In 2008, Amy returned full-time to NOAH and assumed increasing responsibility, moving from Assistant Project Coordinator, to Interim Director, and finally being appointed Executive Director in 2013. In addition to her work with the NOAH Project, she serves as a trustee of the United Methodist Union, Chairperson of the Read, Seed and Feed Board, a Redford Brightmoor Initiative, and is the convener of the Circle of Care, a collaboration of downtown churches serving the homeless.

  • 313-965-5422 ext. 120

Stacie Vaughn

Stacie Vaughn

Assistant Director

Stacie graduated from Wayne State University with a degree in Social Work. Stacie says she is excited to be part of NOAH because “I want to be a part of the transformative work that happens at NOAH.” Stacie brings over 20 years of experience in the Social Work field and says she enjoys working at NOAH because “it’s like a big family.”

  • 313-965-5422 ext. 124

Matt Gatti

Matt Gatti

Street Outreach Coordinator

Matt is a 2019 graduate of the University of Maryland School of Social Work. Prior to earning his degree, Matt served as a Jesuit Volunteer in Detroit between 2016 and 2017. Matt started working at NOAH as the Community Center Manager in 2019, and moved full time to coordinate NOAH's Street Outreach team in 2020.

  • 313-965-5422 ext. 123

Jinnia Siironen

Jinnia Siironen

Bag Lunch & Volunteer Coordinator

Jinnia first came to NOAH as a US- 2 Global Mission Fellow in 2018. She went to Guilford Technical Community College and earned a Culinary Arts Degree. Jinnia now serves full time as NOAH’s Bag Lunch & Volunteer Coordinator. Jinnia is excited to share her love of cooking with the NOAH community!

  • 313-965-5422 ext. 126

Paige Henson

Paige Henson

Street Outreach Caseworker

Paige works as a part of NOAH's street outreach team doing case management and outreach to NOAH's unsheltered clients working to connect them to housing and other services. Paige started with NOAH as a social work intern in 2019 and earned her BSW from Eastern Michigan University.

  • 313-965-5422 ext. 123

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Angela Bakeley

Street Outreach Caseworker

New staff member

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Emily Palm

Emily Palm

Lead Caseworker

Emily currently serves as the lead caseworker on NOAH's case management team through the Global Mission Fellows Program!

  • 313-965-5422

Yaya Urbina

Yaya Urbina

Community Center Program Assistant

Yaya is NOAH's new Community Center Program Assistant serving through the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. This year, they will be managing NOAH's resource desk and mail program and assisting with community center programming!

Yaya is a recent University of Portland graduate, having studied political science and philosophy. They enjoy hiking, being outdoors, listening to music and breaking bread with family, friends and community.

  • 313-965-5422