Lighthouse Emergency Services
Lighthouse Emergency Services (LES) has been helping our friends and neighbors throughout Oakland County overcome crisis situations since 1972. What began as the simple distribution of food and clothing from the back door of a local church in Pontiac has become the largest provider of emergency human services in Oakland County. From the main office in Pontiac and a branch office located in Clarkston, LES uses trained and dedicated volunteers (supported by a staff of modest size) to sit down with each family and determine how we can help resolve the immediate crisis. It may be emergency food, help to prevent eviction or utility disconnection, help with a medical need, or some other need that has created a crisis for the family. Our concerned and compassionate volunteers understand that it’s difficult to think long term if your family is hungry or your electricity is about to be disconnected.
Resolving the immediate crisis, however, is only the fist step in our process of working with each family. Our new ten-year vision for Lighthouse calls for us to resolve the crisis and then to engage the family in a conversation about the barriers that are preventing them from achieving greater levels of self-sufficiency and stability. The ultimate goal is to develop a plan of action, using the existing strengths and assets of the family, to overcome the identified barriers to self-sufficiency.
Lighthouse Emergency Services tackles the tough problems that come with families in crisis. We provide emergency food and transportation, housing assistance to avert homelessness, utility assistance to prevent disconnection, and assistance with prescriptions. Our goal is to immediately resolve the crisis to begin helping the family think long-term about their hopes and dreams.
Lighthouse Emergency Services programs help people build independence and financial self-sufficiency:
Lighthouse Emergency Services provides a three day supply of emergency food, personal hygiene items, utility assistance to prevent disconnection, housing assistance to prevent eviction or foreclosure, prescription assistance, and occasional transportation assistance to people in crisis. This assistance is available also to seniors (60+) and disabled adults (55+).
Supportive Housing for the Chronically Homeless
This program is designed to reach those individuals who have physical or mental disabilities, and who have been homeless for more than a year or have experienced repeated episodes of homelessness (four or more episodes within a three-year period). Participants are provided with a housing orientation and must participate in a variety of life skills growth opportunities.
The Lighthouse LIFE (Lighthouse Independence & Family Empowerment) program is an innovative, non-service based approach to building self sufficiency and personal and financial assets for families. This new program was inspired by a highly successful program “Family Independent Initiative” in California. It is not a traditional case management program in that families will direct themselves and participate in peer groups to resolve issues and deal with crisis situations. The program requires a two (2) year commitment with the possibility of a third year. The program will pay financial incentives to participating families as they take the initiative in making the changes they identify as important in their lives.
This program is geared toward helping seniors (age 60+) with services designed to keep them independent in their own homes. Home visits assess the needs of each senior and a follow-up call to the seniors help with problem solving and potential issues. Seniors may receive emergency food, assistance with housing or utility issues, and advocacy from staff and volunteers. Additional services include fresh fruits and vegetables delivery and monthly luncheons.
Women who are actively pursuing employment may make an appointment with Career Dress for interview clothing, shoes, undergarments, outerwear and a hand bag. Securing employment, Career Dress is able to provide at least two additional complete work outfits. On average, Career Dress helps 40 to 50 women a month feel confident when they go on an interview. One of the very unique features of this program is that is run solely by volunteers. Our volunteers not only make sure that our clients look great; they also listen and help build the much needed self esteem that empowers our clients to succeed.
Each year, Lighthouse helps hundreds of families by providing a traditional Thanksgiving meal on the table. What makes our program different is that we believe sharing this meal in your own home with your own traditions is important for families. Each family receives a Thanksgiving basket with all the traditional fixings, for the families to prepare on their own.
Each December, Lighthouse offers a little “Holiday Help” by providing gifts and clothing to families and seniors in need. Donors may choose to adopt a family or individual and purchase items from their wish list. For 10 days in December we turn a local church gymnasium into a wonderland of good cheer. It’s a great way to end the year!