Third Annual Rent Party Raises the Roof (and Funds) To Fight Housing Crisis in Metro Detroit
Kresge Mansion bash draws hundreds of SOS supporters, but more help is needed.
South Oakland Shelter’s Third Annual Rent Party blended the past with the present – in hopes of forging a brighter future for people facing homelessness in metro Detroit.
Hundreds of party-goers filled Detroit’s beautifully restored Kresge Mansion on June 2 for an unforgettable evening of eats and entertainment from some of the city’s hottest food and drink purveyors and beloved hometown jazz and blues musicians.
“To date, these parties have raised nearly $150,000,” Fox 2 news anchor Huel Perkins said as he and fellow Fox 2 celebrity host Monica Gayle welcomed the crowd. “According to the most recent statistics, more than 66,000 people in Michigan are homeless – 30 percent, or 19,000, right here in metro Detroit.”
“But, just by being here – please know you are making an important difference and a positive impact on our community,” Gayle added.
More than $46,000 (and counting) was raised during the event, proceeds from which will help fund SOS’s vital housing and rental assistance programs – initiatives that have altered the course of so many lives since the shelter started providing these services in 2010. SOS has provided these and other crucial services to the Metro Detroit homeless community over their 33-year history.
The Rent Party event is also deeply rooted in a tradition of neighbors helping neighbors.
Rent parties date back to 1920s Harlem, where families would hire a musician or a band, make some home-made booze in the bathtub, and pass the hat to raise money to pay their rent. Gatherings such as these played a major role in the development of jazz and blues.
And it’s that nod to history that made SOS’s 2018 Rent Party so memorable.
The sounds of Detroit’s own Audio Birds, RJ Spangler and Planet D Nonet and the Michael Jellick Quartet filled the air as guests enjoyed a vast array of food and drink all while exploring the massive 10,000-square-foot Kresge Mansion, whose owner Paddy Lynch so graciously hosted the event. The home built by Stanley Kresge – founder of the Kresge Company, which later became K-Mart – features six bedrooms, a carriage house apartment and a third-floor butler’s apartment.
Rent Party guests were treated to delicious delights from Supino Pizzeria, Alley Taco, Wright & Co. and many others, as well as festive libations from Atwater Brewery, The Schvitz, Two James and more. Highlights of the evening emceed by John Penney, host of JazzFest Detroit on WRCJ-FM (90.9) included a photo booth and twilight bonfire – both fun means of bringing folks closer together.
But none of it would have been possible without the support of Lynch; our event sponsors, St. John Providence and Atomic Object, and entertainment sponsors, Dirty Dog Jazz Café, Chemical Bank and Richard and Carol Lewnau.
“We are so very grateful for the generosity of our sponsors, guests, musicians, restaurants, volunteers, committee members, and hosts who all made this year’s Rent Party such a great success,” said Ryan Hertz, president and CEO of South Oakland Shelter. “Of course, we hope that everyone had as much fun as we did, but most importantly, we raised badly needed funds to help SOS stop evictions, secure housing for homeless families, and more.”
Although the party’s ended, our fund-raising efforts continue. Please help us in our fight against homelessness in metro Detroit. Remember, no donation is too small. To donate, visit: therentparty.org.
To see more pictures of the evening, visit our Facebook Album.