Susan's Sentiments

As I reflect upon the 2023 service year, I am inspired by the incredible impact OLHSA has had on our community, thanks to the unwavering dedication of our team and the support of our outstanding community partners. We have had many achievements this year such as being selected by the community as the service agency of the year, having our city’s mayor advocate for the importance of Head Start funding, building affordable homes with high-school students, having amazing community events, and passing our organizational standards audit with flying colors. This sampling of our success is a testament to the strength of our operational systems, the diligence of our staff, highlights our robust monitoring mechanisms, and reflects the proactive approach we take in identifying and addressing potential issues.

The commitment of our employees and the partnerships we have forged with organizations like the Oakland County Sheriff PAL, Gleaners Food Bank, local health departments, and many others have been instrumental in addressing the diverse needs of our community. Our Employee of the Year exemplifies compassionate support for our clients. Her work, along with that of our entire team, underscores the positive impact of our services. The vast number of the people we served and the programs we offered last year reflect our commitment to supporting the unique needs of our community through multiple Community Action programs.

As we move forward, OLHSA remains dedicated to continuous improvement and excellence. We will continue to innovate and adapt to meet the evolving needs of those we serve, ensuring that everyone in our community can be heard and thrive. Together, we are shaping a brighter future for all. 

Service Area Overview

9,355 People served
4,082 Households served
People living with a disability

Veterans & Military Service

Marlene Dennard

OLHSA's 2023 Employee of the Year

Marlene Dennard, honored as OLHSA's 2023 Employee of the Year, exemplifies dedication and compassion in her role. Reflecting on her work, Marlene shares, "It’s not a job to me; it’s a career of serving, helping, and giving hope to clients". Her welcoming demeanor sets a positive tone in our office, demonstrating respect and kindness to everyone she encounters.

Marlene's commitment to understanding available resources leaves a lasting impact on both clients and colleagues. She vigilantly stays informed of programmatic changes, ensuring that people are connected to all the programs and resources available to help them. Her community support moves beyond providing essential supplies; her empathy and assistance encourages people to move toward thriving with their heads held high. 

Strengthening Community Ties Through Play

OLHSA and Oakland County Sheriff PAL Program Partner Up. 

OLHSA's Early Childhood program has forged a valuable partnership with the Oakland County Sheriff PAL program to help children and families in our community reach their full potential. The Sheriff PAL program is dedicated to improving the lives of youth through athletics, mentoring, and enrichment programs. Their goals include enhancing the health and emotional well-being of participants, developing strong character, boosting self-confidence and self-efficacy, and fostering transformational relationships among peers, coaches, and law enforcement.

Together, OLHSA and the Sheriff PAL program create family engagement play opportunities that serve as safe spaces for children to develop both fine and large motor skills. Linda VanderWaal, OLHSA's Associate Director of Program Development, praised the program, stating, "The Sheriff PAL program provides great role models for our children in a safe space. As the kids are strengthening their bodies, they're also strengthening community relationships with their family and the Sheriff PAL officers."

“Our partnership with OLHSA allows us to meet children and their families in places where they are already learning and playing, eliminating barriers to participation”. Lauren Fuller, Executive Director at Oakland County Sheriff PAL, goes on to express, “Being able to get kids active at a young age helps lay the groundwork for a lifetime of healthy habits”. By fostering an environment of trust and mutual respect, OLHSA and the Sheriff PAL program are laying the groundwork for a healthier, more connected community where children can thrive, and families feel supported. 


48 unemployed adults obtained employment (up to a living wage)

Employee Loan Fund Rollout 

Last year, OLHSA introduced the Employee Loan Fund to support staff during financial hardships. Employees can borrow up to $1,000 at a low 2% interest rate, which is waived upon completing financial education courses. With repayments managed through payroll deduction, the program ensures ease and confidentiality. Funded by a Huntington Bank grant and sustained through repayments, this initiative empowers our team members to achieve financial stability and peace of mind. 

Enhancing Our Workplace 

Last year, OLHSA revised and updated our flexible work arrangements to improve recruitment and retention, allowing for a better work-life balance for our staff. We also made significant progress towards our compensation philosophy and compa-ratio, ensuring fair and competitive salaries. Additionally, we celebrated internal growth with 11 promotions, 2 rehires, and 4 internal transfers within our divisions, reflecting our commitment to developing and advancing our talented team. 


School Readiness and Success for African American Boys Cohort 

OLHSA's Early Childhood program has implemented the Supporting the School Readiness and Success of Young African American Boys Cohort, that addresses local educational inequalities by enhancing staff awareness and skills. OLHSA continues to expand this initiative to foster a culturally responsive learning environment that celebrates diversity within African American families. These efforts will focus on bolstering the development, learning, and school success of African American boys in our community.

Complementing this initiative, the Fathers, Uncles, Dads, Grandfathers, and Everyone Else who is a Father Figure (FUDGE) Read Aloud Program. This initiative encourages male role models to engage in reading activities with young children, reinforcing the importance of literacy and providing positive reinforcement from key figures in their lives. By integrating FUDGE with the Supporting the School Readiness and Success of Young African American Boys Cohort, OLHSA creates a comprehensive support system that fosters educational success and celebrates cultural diversity locally. 

Reggie's Rainbow Adventure: A Colorful Journey in Early Childhood Learning 

OLHSA was thrilled to welcome Reggie from Reggie's Rainbow Adventure® to our Early Childhood programs. This curriculum is designed for early childhood learners and offers a series of health-focused reading adventures. This program supports early learning domains, including literacy, social-emotional development, and scientific understanding. Using fun activities, Reggie helps children reinforce skills in language development, math, art, and oral and physical health.

Reggie's Rainbow Adventure provides a comprehensive approach to early education by being aligned with various curriculum and quality standards. OLHSA’s Head Start children were captivated by Reggie's visits, which brought learning adventures to life, fostering growth in a fun and interactive way. 

Asset Development

246 people report improved financial well-being
48 unemployed people obtained living wage jobs

Empowering a New Homeowner: A Housing Counseling Success Story 

A recent widow, participating in the Grandparents Raising Grandchildren program, was referred to OLHSA’s Housing Counseling after receiving a notice of delinquent property taxes from the county treasurer. Unaware of her property tax obligations, she faced the risk of losing her home.

A housing counselor stepped in to identify community resources that helped her pay off the delinquent taxes and educated her on property tax responsibilities and timelines. Also, her eligibility for hardship exemptions was assessed, and she was helped to create a budget to save for future tax payments. This comprehensive support ensured she could confidently manage her property taxes moving forward, safeguarding her home and financial stability. 
73% of Home Preservation clients prevented a foreclosure


56% of all housing counseling clients improved their financial capacity

From Financial Uncertainty to Homeownership 

One of our clients sought help from OLHSA’s rental counseling program to reduce her debt and build emergency savings. Shortly after starting counseling, she lost her job, leaving her with no income. With the guidance of her counselor, she created a crisis budget to manage her necessary expenses and identified community resources to fill the gaps.

Despite these challenges, she secured employment within a few months, reduced her debt by over $1,500, and established emergency savings. A year after completing counseling, she achieved the milestone of purchasing a home for herself and her two children. This journey highlights the transformative impact of OLHSA’s support in fostering financial stability and enabling homeownership.

The Master Lease program: 2023 Launch

In 2023, OLHSA introduced the Master Lease Program to support individuals at risk of homelessness. This initiative places participants in OLHSA-leased properties and offers up to 12 months of coaching to overcome barriers to independent housing. Many participants are prepared for independent living but face challenges such as poor credit, rental history, or past felonies.

Our partnership with Baldwin House in Pontiac and Hazel Park enables these renters to eventually lease in their own names and remain in their units. This program not only provides access to stable, affordable housing but also helps renters build a positive rental history and save for future rent by subsidizing their costs. 

Emergency Utility Assistance

975 people received utility arrear assistance
551 people had their utility emergency resolved within 30 days

Water Assistance Success Story 

To alleviate water bill burdens, OLHSA operated the Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP). In February 2023, OLHSA partnered with the Bureau of Community Action and Economic Opportunity (BCAEO) to utilize mass text messaging through MiBridges, targeting households eligible for water assistance. The first LIHWAP mass text went out on March 9, 2023, reaching 13,819 households. Continued messaging through September 7, 2023, resulted in 28,637 successful text sends. This strategic outreach significantly increased community interest and allowed OLHSA to successfully utilize all LIHWAP funding, ensuring continued support for those in need.

An example of LIHWAP's impact involves an Oakland County resident who faced significant financial hardship after losing his job due to a serious illness. Living in a household of five, including a senior, with no income other than food assistance, he struggled to keep up with his bills. When he approached OLHSA, his water bill had accumulated to an overwhelming $13,000. Recognizing the severity of his situation, OLHSA requested an over-cap exception to cover the entire bill, and within days, received approval for the full amount. His profound gratitude highlighted the critical support provided: "I truly appreciate your help. Beyond words. Thank you for all that you do." This story underscores the immense barriers many individuals face and showcases OLHSA's dedication to providing peace of mind through compassionate assistance and comprehensive support services. 

Weatherization Assistance Program: 10-Week Energy Auditor Cohort  

OLHSA is grateful to the Bureau of Community Action and Economic Opportunity (BCAEO) for their support and mentorship throughout 2023. A notable highlight was the collaborative effort to secure and conduct a 10-week Energy Auditor Cohort for OLHSA’s Weatherization Inspectors. This training took place onsite at OLHSA from April through June 2023.

The Energy Auditor Cohort significantly enhanced the capacity of our staff and program, culminating in all five of OLHSA’s Weatherization Inspectors passing the State of Michigan On-Site Energy Auditor Exam. This accomplishment is pivotal to our ability to build internal capacity and strengthen our services. We extend our heartfelt thanks to BCAEO for their unwavering support and belief in our program. We are honored to partner with them on this journey. 

Health & Behavioral Health 

857 parents/caregivers demonstrated increased sensitivity and responsiveness in their interactions with their children
878 parents/caregivers improved their skills related to the adult role of parents/caregivers

Showcasing Creativity: Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Art Featured at the DIA

OLHSA proudly participated in the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) annual Community Group Exhibition. For the past seven years, art pieces created by families from OLHSA's Grandparents Raising Grandchildren program have been featured. The 2023 exhibit highlighted the importance of kinship caregivers and showcased the artistic talents within our community.

Reflecting on the partnership, Lisa Grodsky, Program Operations Manager for Grandparents Raising Grandchildren, shared, “Our collaboration with the DIA embodies the spirit of community, heritage, and family. This partnership celebrates kinship caregivers and the children in their care. We are grateful to the DIA for prioritizing collaborations like this that create a brighter canvas for generations to come." 

Food & Nutrition 

Prepared meals 118,601
Food boxes given out 71,617 

Meet Up and Eat Up: Nourishing Our Community 

OLHSA's Meet Up and Eat Up program is dedicated to ensuring that children in lower-income areas like Pontiac, MI, do not go hungry during school vacations. As part of the federal Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), Meet Up and Eat Up provides nutritious meals to children who might otherwise lack access to regular, healthy food. Last year, OLHSA’s Meet Up and Eat Up program achieved remarkable success, more than doubling the number of meals served to an unprecedented 42,000 meals in just three months. This broke all records since OLHSA initiated the program eight years ago.

Madelyne Wright, Assistant Director of Nutrition Services, highlighted the program's critical role in the community: "Inflation, particularly with food prices, has really negatively impacted the community, so by offering a free food resource, we were able to bridge the gap and ease the burden on families in Pontiac." Unlike other food resources in the city that require enrollment and provide grocery items, Meet Up and Eat Up offers complete meals with no enrollment or information collection necessary, ensuring every child is served. While this program addresses food insecurity it also fosters a sense of community and support for families during challenging times. 

Senior Food Lounge

The Senior Food Lounge at Gleaners Community Food Bank in Howell offers seniors the opportunity to select from a rotating array of foods as part of the Community Supplemental Food Package (CSFP). Seniors can schedule appointments to handpick the foods they prefer, ensuring they receive items that meet their dietary needs and preferences. Additionally, they can learn about local senior resources and events. Our helpful OLHSA team is always available to assist, making the experience convenient and enjoyable.  

Improved Health

Psychosocial Health Integrated Services 

The Health Integrated Services (HIS) department is making a significant impact on community well-being. HIS has launched the region's only Spanish-speaking peer-to-peer support group, which has received referrals from across southeastern Michigan. This unique initiative is addressing a critical need, providing culturally and linguistically appropriate support to enhance the mental health and overall well-being of Spanish-speaking individuals in our community. 
1,644 people demonstrated improved physical health and well-being

Chronic illness

91 people with chronic illness maintained an independent living situation

Addressing Social Determinants of Health through Strategic Partnerships 

OLHSA is committed to addressing the social determinants of health to improve community well-being. We have embedded a dedicated team member at the Oakland County Health Department, strengthening our ability to provide integrated care and support. This collaboration is part of a larger network involving Honor Community Health, the Oakland County Health Department, and the Gary Bernstein Clinic.

By working together, we leverage each organization's strengths to address factors such as access to healthcare, economic stability, and environmental conditions. These strategic partnerships enable us to deliver comprehensive services promoting health equity and enhance quality of life for residents. 

Financial Overview 

Total: $27,586,214 

Fundraising Overview

Walk for Warmth

Warming hearts. Helping homes.
Over $82,000
797 community members served
312 children (17 and under)
182 people with disabilities
139 older adults (55 and up)
Premier Sponsor: Genisys Credit Union

Board members 

Khalfani Stephens CHAIRPERSON
Janet Jackson SECRETARY
Douglas Williams TREASURER

Public Sector Board Members

Private Sector Board Members

Community Representative Sector Board Members
Holbert Maxey HOUSING

Emeritus Members
Deborah Majeski
John Almstadt
Nancy Dingeldey
Ninfa Mendoza
Richard J. Holmes

Thank You to Our Donors

Genisys Credit Union
Jose Goncalves
Richard Holmes
First United Methodist Church
Laura Lawless
First Presbyterian Church of Brighton
Witzenmann USA LLC
Brighton Masonic Lodge #247
NZ Bryant Jr
Ryan Peasley
Unilock Jerry Harder
Chantal Wentworth-Mullin
Cheryl Step
St. John Catholic Church
Colleen Hedblad
Douglas Williams
Douglas Williams
Kylie Resner
Steven Roach
Lauren Fischer
Phyllis McMillen
Jeannie Matovski
Pontiac Community Foundation
Gary Richmond
APEX Placement & Consulting
Hartland United Methodist Church
Micah 6 Coleman Yoakum
Thomas Kurzyniec
Terri Wood
A.J. Sparks
Joe Morrill
Dan DeRyckere
Allan Martin
Mark Michail
Lynn Aguirre
Melissa Baranski
C.J. Felton
Brian Sharrow
Mary Morris
Renee Baron
Brent Earl
Betty j Esnault
Ann Orrin
Ann Robinson
Kelli Marks
Pauline Druschel
Patricia Soma
Louise Balan
Wines for Humanity
Paula Peters
Janice & Sean Smith, Heather & Scott Zeigler, Kathie Flanery Janice & Sean Smith, Heather & Scott Zeigler, Kathie Flanery
Erica Goldston
Judy Daubenmier
Jane Sutterfield
Anne Michaels
Douglas Becker
Mary Lane
Kathie Flanery
Diane Griffith
Chris Costa
Erica Goldston
Kathleen Matusik
Julie Testori
Emmanuelle Michel
Carol J Ducat
Denise Beauvais
Jennifer Reid-Lamb
Emily Kallunki-Pasternak
Kathleen (Joe and Kathy) Carney
Janet Carpenter
Lois Baranski
Erica Karfonta
Bob Ellis
Deborah Salatin
Mary Evergreen
Janice Karlovich Foster
Nick Proctor
Karen Stewart
Basil Bloss
Coralene Bloss
Public Policy Associates
Paul Mansfield
Mark Hoornstra
Julia Hanneman-Schoenbach
Anthony Soma
Susan & Curt Harding
Nancy Isken
Jan Carpenter
Brad Michaud
Kathleen Kline-Hudson
First Presbyterian Church of Brighton
Anthony Soma
Mark Robinson
Martha Rodgers
Madeline Reese
Sarah Hodges
Jim & Barb Peterson
Katie Simons
Monica Grogan
Tammy Shire
Jamie Rouster
John Wallbank
Jordan Genso
Thomas Beindit
Bev Deaton
Maryann Pedigo
Heather Aeschliman
Jane Lindhout
Brie Daniel
Melissa Richard
Cherie Mollison
Alda Opfer
Jeffrey Berner
Sandra Schemke
Michelle Bennett
Carolyn Sdunell
Linda Fragnoli
Donald Jones
Theresa Rappold
Davide PIccirilli
Anita Grodsky
Anne Anderson
Susan Lindson
Lori Cowan
Lauren Royston
Donna Schaidt
Michele Lake
Maureen Hillman
Lyndsay Wing
Kim McNutt
Abby Romans
Steve Williams
Lisa Grodsky
Karen Hillestad
NaKendra Stewart
Carol Schram
Linda Parker-Cooks
Max Manning
Dianne Lee
Cassie Davis
Andrea Buck
Jack Buczak
Daniel Luria
Curtis Hamilton
Diane Lenk
Timothy Schnelle
Danielle Neely
Dauna Borchardt
Jean Ann Miller
Jannet Beers
Doug Callaghan
Noreen Westkemp
Fern Law
Brenda Wheater
Alberta Cato
Romona Greenlee
Devon Washington
Karen Kush
Sherry Buchanan
Krystal Player
Roberto Arcienega
Anne Nanfito
Deanna Mitchell
Kathie Flanery
John Furey
Kathi Clark
Ed Milkowski
Franci Horton
Sylvia Northrop
Luke Lehma
Karen Smades
Michael Wallace
diane Hague
Talena Schneller
Jessica Bell
Christine Wass
Stacy Green
Kadeja Roberts
Barbara Jackson
Desiree Player
Marcia Boykin
Patricia Terhaar
Pieter VerHow
Tametria Lawrence
Savannah Meas
Liz Lucas
Lisa Green
Barbra Jackson
Victoria Ybarra
Barbara Jackson
Kathryn Flanery
Felicia Smith-High
Nicole Cannon
Nancy Shimel
Linda Dailey
Tracy McGregor
Goldie Jack
Kim Nardo
Ann Ayers
Erin Pavelich
karen zinski
Elena Steele
Erica Goldston
Katrina King
Mesha Holland

Fundraising Overview