Ruth Ellis Clairmount Center, Detroit, MI

The Ruth Ellis Clairmount Center (REC Center) is a mixed-use development in Detroit’s Piety Hill neighborhood that will create 43 units of permanent supportive housing for LGBTQ+ youth experiencing homelessness within a larger mixed-use development offering social services, health care, and employment opportunities.

At approximately 44,000 SF, the mixed-use building will offer 43 studio and one-bedroom apartments, with community amenities such as a resource library and technology center, community kitchen, salon, art studio, and on-site property management. The project will seek Section 8 project-based rental assistance from MSHDA for 34 units. Eight units will be unassisted, and there will be one employee unit. The market-rate units are intended to serve a permanent supportive housing population that no longer needs rental assistance but still requires residential supportive services. This allows for permanent supportive housing tenants to transition to units without rental assistance as they gain greater independence. Residents will also have onsite space dedicated to supportive services provided by the Developer including offices for case management and group therapy.

The REC Center will include a physical home for the Ruth Ellis Center, whose mission is to change nationwide systems of care for LGBTQ-identified youth. The Ruth Ellis Center will also create a Youth Entrepreneurial Center offering career training and professional development opportunities for youth in culinary arts, social services, and advocacy work related to their mission.

The Ruth Ellis Center and a partnering non-profit health care organization will expand their partnership at a second Health and Wellness Center serving the public within the project. The approximately 3,000 SF clinic will include 4 exam rooms and 4 behavioral health consultation rooms, along with a small laboratory, and an exercise studio for yoga and movement-based therapies. The Health and Wellness Center will have two clinicians from the Pediatric and Family Medicine departments of the partnering healthcare organization.

Detroit, MI



Unit Count



Ruth Ellis Center


O'Brien Construction Company Inc.


Strategic Energy Solutions (MEP)

PEA Group (civil + landscape)

SDI Structures (structural)

The four-story building bends mid-block with glazing at the street level to welcome residents and the broader community alike into the café, Town Hall, and salon spaces. The building is clad in a mix of modern and traditional materials to remain a part of the surrounding context, but still convey the energy and life of the organization and its clients. The light-filled two-story entry space welcomes all who enter with activity and public art.

Residents are invited to join in any event or service at the ground level or immediately move into their secure private lobby leading to the upper floors. The upper floors contain efficient, modern apartments along with a variety of shared common spaces. These areas, including a roof deck, shared kitchen/dining space, art space, dance/movement space, and lounges with views of the City from all corners, foster and support ‘families of choice’ within the community.