“FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) – M.A.D.E. Institute will continue the fight against recidivism with a $283,375 grant from Islamic Relief USA to expand their mission throughout Genesee County.
M.A.D.E. Institute‘s vision is to create a community where citizens returning from incarceration and at-risk youth have equal access to employment, education, opportunity and housing.
More than 1,000 members of the Genesee County community have benefited from their various programs, including entrepreneurship, re-entry care packages, trades, transitional housing and other tools to support those who seek a new lease on life.
Leon El-Alamin, founder and executive director of M.A.D.E. Institute, said housing is top priority with the grant from Islamic Relief USA, because he too can attest to hardship after incarceration.
“I’m a formerly incarcerated man. I served seven years in the Michigan Department of Corrections from 2003 to 2010,” El-Alamin said. “So I know the hardship when I came home there was a lack of housing, programs, assistance and resources to help individuals like myself.”
His mission is to give hope with a heartbeat — actively providing housing and employment to at-risk youth and returning citizens.
M.A.D.E. Institute is adding five transitional houses to the program’s existing eight, making a total of 13 houses in Flint for both at-risk youth and returning citizens.
“This particular one that is here on Alma Street is in the 3rd Ward, but a lot of the houses that we’re targeting are in the 1st Ward,” said El-Alamin. “One of the hardest hit areas and it’s been disinvested so we really wanted to emphasize our focus there to bring some attention and value of things up.”
The Alma Street facility will be used as dorm-style to house young adults that have now aged out of foster care and are currently looking for housing.
As for the additional homes, El-Alamin plans to create a space for returning citizens to rent after they have graduated from the M.A.D.E. program with hopes to lower the re-incarceration statistics.
“I had done some research. Forty-two percent of the population had a felony conviction. That’s almost half your population,” he said. “And if we didn’t create a program like M.A.D.E. Institute, it’s just a matter of time that they’ll go back to old behaviors so we wanted to tackle the recidivism and make sure that they have an opportunity to reintegrate and be successful.”
In addition to the five additional transitional houses on the city’s north side, the funds will support renovations on the institute’s commercial building, and implementing new programming.
El-Alamin plans to have the five new transitional houses up and running by this summer.”