Rebuilding A Life And A City After Years On Detroit's Streets

Play associated audio

Each week, Weekend Edition Sunday host Rachel Martin brings listeners an unexpected side of the news by talking with someone personally affected by the stories making headlines.

After years of selling drugs and serving prison time in Detroit, 54-year-old Isaac Lott is now a site supervisor with the organization Reclaim Detroit. The group deconstructs abandoned homes to reclaim materials from them.

Lott says he is hopeful about his own future, as well as the future of the city of Detroit. He tells NPR's Rachel Martin that he was proud just to make it through the training program that got him his job.

"This is the first time I really completed anything," he says. "And I enjoy coming to work everyday."

Lott says what's different now is that he doesn't have to look over his shoulder anymore, either for police or other criminals. He says it was a life full of stress.

Lott was dealing heroin and cocaine, but he says he was also his own best customer.

"I wasn't good at it because I'm not rich," he says.

Lott says he came from a good home, and his parents always worked hard to provide, but that he and his two brothers gravitated toward making money on the street. At one time, he says, they were making more money than their parents. Those two brothers died living that street life.

Now that he works for Reclaim Detroit, the first legitimate job he's ever had, working to help rebuild the city he's lived in his whole life, Lott says he's hopeful.

"In the next 10 years you won't really know Detroit; I really believe that," Lott says. "Once we get rid of all of this blight and educate these younger kids, I think it's going to change."

Join Our Sunday Conversation

Is it worth the extra time and money it takes to salvage Detroit's vacant homes, or should they just be demolished? Tell us what you think on the Weekend Edition Facebook page, or in the comments section below.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Despite Host Controversy, Amazon Takes A Chance On 'Top Gear'

The trio that made Top Gear the world's biggest car show will return to the small screen in a new show for Amazon Prime. The BBC canned one of its hosts last year after a fight with a producer.
NPR

Pesticide Drift Threatens Organic Farms

Conventional farmers use millions of pounds of pesticides each year to protect crops from weeds and insects. When those chemicals drift to neighboring property, they can ruin crops on organic farms.
NPR

Hillary Clinton Released 8 Years Of Tax Returns

The returns show that she and her husband Bill Clinton paid nearly $44 million in federal taxes since 2007, according to her campaign. "We've come a long way," she said.
NPR

Despite Host Controversy, Amazon Takes A Chance On 'Top Gear'

The trio that made Top Gear the world's biggest car show will return to the small screen in a new show for Amazon Prime. The BBC canned one of its hosts last year after a fight with a producer.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.