Success Stories

Success Story Spotlight

Elaine Goes Above and Beyond to Help

Meet Elaine, an OLHSA Welcome Center Client Service Coordinator.  She goes above and beyond to make sure anyone who reaches out to her from Livingston or Oakland County feels safe and supported.

Recently, Elaine met a single, pregnant mom raising 3 young children who was struggling to make ends meet.  This pregnant mom has not been able to work since COVID began because she lacks childcare.  To add to the stress, this family had no electric service in their home for two days due to lack of income and compiling utility arrearages.  Although, this mom had been reaching out for other community supports to assist her, she had not received any contact back about program eligibility.

Elaine stepped in to reach out to her local caseworker to get information about application status, but she also heard nothing back.  Realizing that this mother’s children would be going without internet access for school, along with not having other basic needs met without electricity, Elaine was able to assist her with OLHSA COVID CARES relief funding.  Next she conducted a 3-way call to DTE, along with the mom, to inform them OLHSA had committed to assisting with this family’s electric bills.  Once her electricity was secured, Elaine made sure this family received a resource list that included local agencies, food pantry lists, and information about other supportive OLHSA Programs.   

Are you in need of supportive OLHSA assistance?  Reach out to OLHSA by phone (248)209-2600 or email so a friendly Welcome Center Client Service Coordinator can support you!

He Served Our Country, Now He Serves Our Community

“Every time I see one of our country’s service people I thank them and I thank all their family members for supporting them during their time away in service and for all that extra support they need when they are transitioning back into civilian life. On a personal level, I know that it can be a difficult transition, and I am thankful for my wife and now my children for always supporting me and reminding me that we are all connected to each other and to the earth.” Sam is married with three beautiful kids and employed by OLHSA, but he draws strength from his experience as a marine and from having been raised by a parent that was a Vietnam Veteran.


Growing up with a veteran parent that suffered with PTSD from the stress of war was sometimes difficult and left his mother raising three children alone. Although, with the help of his family, Sam’s father was eventually able to recover and have a happier family life. Sam finds comfort in knowing that the military is now putting more effort into helping service men and women cope with trauma and stress when they return home. Sam also raises his children with a focus on providing guidance from his life experiences, to share their emotions, and to be compassionate with everyone. Sam has explained to his children, “It’s ok for someone to be hurt or afraid, but dealing with the solution head-on is also vital, sometimes that involves the help of other people. I want my children to understand that people need other people and that we need to be understanding of other people’s life experiences also.”


When Sam’s children were young they were OLHSA Head Start students and his wife volunteered in her children’s classrooms. “They really connected us to so many services as Head Start parents, things I didn’t even think we would ever need, but at different points we did need that support and we were also able to pass that knowledge onto the people we know who needed assistance too.” While Sam was working as a personal trainer at a local gym, an OLHSA team member suggested he apply for a job at OLHSA. As he thought back about his past OLHSA encounters, he knew it would be a good fit for him where he could meet a few good people and give back. “Becoming an OLHSA team member was great. Everyone was always willing to provide answers to any questions I had and they have even encouraged me to continue growing in my career.”


OLHSA is proud to have Samuel Dowe, II as a team member and for all the hard work he’s done for the community and for the country.

Venture, Inc.

Charmell Hancock had given up hope of finding a low-cost home that fit her specifications. After living in Detroit and being unhappy with the home she was in, she decided to pursue something better.

That’s when she heard about Venture, Inc., a housing subsidiary of OLHSA that builds and sells quality affordable homes to low-income homebuyers. At first it seemed too good to be true, but after talking with Venture, Inc. employees she realized her dreams were coming true. She even began decorating the house in her mind before she moved in.

Charmell currently resides in the home she purchased through Venture in Royal Oak Township with her 5 year old son, Chaz, and she couldn’t be happier. The house has all of the requirements she wanted and fits perfectly within her budget. She loves the amount of space the house has, with 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, and her son enjoys the giant backyard. She was also impressed that the house came with new appliances including a stove, refrigerator and a dishwasher.

Charmell is comfortable in her neighborhood and happy with her decision to purchase the home. She is grateful to Venture, Inc. for helping her find her dream home and she encourages others to take advantage of the program should other houses be available.

OLHSA knows the struggle of finding affordable housing that is comfortable and attractive. Venture, Inc. was founded by OLHSA to offer beautiful homes at an affordable price. Venture, Inc. believes that homeownership should be a reality for residents with all income levels. The program is dedicated to building quality, energy-efficient affordable homes mainly in Royal Oak Township and Pontiac.

For more information about Venture, Inc. please email

A close knit group

For over 15 years OLHSA’s Grandparents Raising Grandchildren (GRG) has provided services to grandparents who are raising grandchildren in the Oakland County area. Program services include workshops, support group meetings and intergenerational activities. These services are made possible through funding provided by the Area Agency on Aging 1-B.
GRG offers interactive workshops on a variety of important topics including health and wellness, parenting, and legal issues. Support groups allow grandparents to meet others like themselves and can relate to the ups and downs of their situation. Intergenerational Activities help grandparents with finding common points of interest with their grandchild, which can be difficult. Registered grandparents can also receive monthly e-mail blasts and mailings containing useful resources that keep them updated.

Kathy Dankert has been part of the GRG program for over nine years and she has raised four grandchildren while in the program. Out of those four she has adopted two, currently ages nine and 13. “I like that the program puts me in touch with grandparents going through the same issues,” said Kathy. “We really are a close knit group and learn from each other’s struggles. The support group aspect of the program has been truly beneficial.”

Kathy has been involved with the fun intergenerational activities over the years. “When the grandparents and grandkids get together, the kids feel that they are not alone in their struggles and gather strength and courage,” said Kathy. “They also develop priceless friendships.”

GRG also participated in the Children’s Holiday Wish program, which provided presents for grandchildren in the program and helped to make their holiday even more special.

Learn more about GRG on our website

From client to employee

From client to employee, Rickey Brown has had many successes through OLHSA.

Rickey discovered OLHSA through the Michigan Prisoner Reentry Initiative (MPRI) and Department of Justice reentry program while he was incarcerated in 2009. He was in the program for six months and participated in various workshops.

Through the workshops offered by the MPRI, Rickey learned how to build a resume, how to prepare for a job interview, as well as other development skills that would prepare him for his future and for reintegration after being incarcerated. Additionally, he completed an auto mechanics course provided by Oakland Community College (OCC). OLHSA also helped Rickey apply to OCC so he could continue classes once released.

“OLHSA’s programs helped me to become an active member of society,” said Rickey. “I am grateful to OLHSA for helping me become successful and providing me with a job to support my family.”
Rickey was hired as an OLHSA employee in October 2013. As an employee, Rickey does tasks such as yard cleaning and snow removal. He really enjoys giving back to society and helping the elderly clients who can’t do the things for themselves that they would like to.

 “I love getting up early in the morning and being excited to go to work,” said Rickey. “Working for OLHSA has been such a great learning experience and it’s satisfying being able to help others.”
OLHSA is happy to have Rickey and is proud of all his hard work. “We can’t get him to stop working,” said Joan Leshley, Director of Community and Energy Services at OLHSA. “He is a highly motivated individual and has been doing a fantastic job.”

Rickey also has three grandchildren in Head Start and says he can’t believe how smart the program has made them. He says the program has helped his grandchildren with learning colors, numbers, letters and even speech.

Rickey’s future goals are to continue working for OLHSA as well as to finish his auto mechanics degree. Since he has been working, Rickey has still been able to attend Oakland Community College and has four more classes to finish his degree.