Josh York and his band of heroes at The York Project are true humanitarians for the homeless.
The York Project provides basic necessities like toiletries and undergarments to Detroiters in need and in transition and today, Josh and his team of eleven have become heroes to the community, the homeless population, and to the City of Detroit.
EXP: How did The York Project get started?
JY: I knew at a very early age I wanted to be a business owner. I started screen printing band t-shirts and sewing “York” on beanies in the basement of my parent’s house and sold them at shows at Saint Andrews and The Crofoot. When I realized I was selling more “York” branded products than the band merchandise, I knew I was on to something. Now we are hand cutting and sewing t-shirts and allocating part of the proceeds towards kits for the homeless.
EXP: What has been your inspiration?
JY: My Dad brought me Downtown a lot as a kid for hockey and baseball games. I recognized how many people were experiencing homelessness, and everyone was conditioned to just look away. I’ve been inspired by companies and organizations with similar social missions like TOMS and The Empowerment Plan. I knew by launching York Project I could make an impact in Detroit and address a not so glamorous issue.
EXP: What are some of your favorite spots in the city?
JY: There are three people on my speed dial – my mom, dad, and Lupita’s. It’s the best taco deal in town! I also love the close-knit community in West Village. You can walk into The Red Hook for coffee and run into at least one person you know. When people come to visit Detroit, I always take them by The Heidelberg Project because it’s so unique and unlike anything else.
EXP: What project in the city are you most looking forward to?
JY: I remember my grandparents always talked about shopping at J.L. Hudson’s. I’m excited to see the redevelopment of that iconic site. It’s great to see retail making a comeback in Detroit!
EXP: Where will the next The York Project headquarters be located now that Ponyride has been sold?
JY: We’ve loved meeting other entrepreneurs at Ponyride but we are excited to move to the Northwest Goldberg neighborhood in a few weeks. We will be sharing a retail & production space with Rebel Nell. We plan to host monthly concerts which will really bring things full circle from where it all started.
EXP: How can someone get involved?
JY: We work closely with PBJ Outreach to hand out food and kits the third Saturday of every month in the Cass Corridor. Volunteers and supplies are always in demand. If you want to get involved, email firstname.lastname@example.org.