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About Passport to Self-Sufficiency™

COTS was established in 1982 to serve individuals and families experiencing homelessness. Initially created to address the homelessness crisis in Detroit, COTS has since evolved to offer a comprehensive array of services, spanning from housing solutions to a transformative coaching program known as Passport to Self-Sufficiency™ (PTS).

PTS represents a poverty reduction and alleviation framework that is the foundation of all COTS programs and initiatives. At its core, PTS embraces a strengths-based methodology, empowering each family to collaboratively chart their journey out of poverty alongside a dedicated PTS Mobility Coach. It is a partnership grounded in the belief that every parent possesses the insight required to determine what self-sufficiency means for their family.

Within the framework of PTS, the PTS Mobility Coach works hand in hand with the head of the household to establish objectives across five key domains: Housing and Family Stability, Financial Well-being, Health & Well-being, Education and Training, and Career Development. These objectives are entirely participant-driven, fostering a sense of ownership and empowerment. To facilitate progress, individuals receive both individualized and group coaching, gain access to resources from community partners, and are motivated by incentives, all aimed at nurturing economic self-sufficiency and creating stable living environments that yield a lasting, multi-generational impact.

COTS is the first organization certified in Mobility Mentoring®, a research-backed economic mobility coaching approach developed by Economic Mobility Pathways (EMPath). Mobility Mentoring® empowers low-income families by offering a participant-centered, holistic, trauma-informed, and culturally competent approach to help individuals achieve their goals.

PTS Partners

COTS community partner organizations offer expanded services, workshops, resources, mentorship, employment and so much more to the families we serve. COTS network of domain-related partners supplements PTS coaching and assists participants on their path to self-sufficiency. These partners are critical to the success of Passport to Self-Sufficiency™. This robust network of partners is leveraged to increase clients’ financial and social capital and create poverty-resistant families. As of August 2023, COTS has working partnerships with over 60 organizations. The area of expertise of these organizations spans across all five domains and includes employers, banks, GED programs, healthcare providers, a mentorship program, parenting support, dental care, youth services, political advocacy think tanks, and more.

Want to partner with COTS? Contact COTS Director of Strategic Partnerships, Nikki Carbonari at

Advocacy Partners

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