Motor City Match reaches major milestone with new assisted living facility

The 150th business to open up under the banner of the Motor City Match Program was a special one: an assisted living facility.

The major milestone was reached after 10 years of city-inspired grants that help fuel business ventures by prospective Detroit entrepreneurs. The most recent recipient was Melvie Berkery, the co-founder of Dream Estates.

"The banks turned us down, but the City of Detroit, Motor City Match said yes and here you have it. Dream Estates," she said.

The assisted living center, which includes onsite nursers and wraparound services for its tenants, was the brainchild of Berkery and inspired by her grandmother Margerie Marie. She died in 2018 while on a waitlist for a similar center before being forced to move out of the city.

"I wanted to honor her with this facility," Berkery said, "so that all Detroit residents can have a place ot call home when they're forced to leave their permanent jobs."

She did it with a $75,000 grant through the MCM program. It's also the first grant that goes toward living space for aging seniors.

"This is our first assisted living business, but this is what we wanted," the Detroit mayor said.

The center replaces the old rooms of a religious-based school institution.

Mike Duggan said there are a lot of buildings like it in Detroit and it was about time they were turned into productive space.

"We've watched the way that Catholic schools have pulled out of this city and left behind a lot of empty buildings," he said. "The idea that you could take an unused convent and create a place for people to live in comfort and support in a beautiful neighborhood."

It also fills a gap that's badly needed as Southeast Michigan's population ages. Resources to care for the growing group have not followed and experts say it'll become more important as time goes on.

"There's not enough places in Detroit where seniors can age comfortably in place and to have the assisted part - assisted living and wraparound services that are provided by the nurses here on site so today was historic for Detroit," District 2 Councilwoman Angela Whitfield-Calloway.

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Five residents have already signed up for the facility and a sixth was close to closing as well.

Dream Estates expects to fill up quickly, which is why a second center is also being built on the Riverfront.

"We have to show that it is a priority to make sure that our seniors - the most vulnerable in our community - age with dignity, with comfort, with friendship and care, and this is high quality state-of-the-art facility right here in our neighborhood and I could not be more proud," said Whitfield-Calloway.