Success Stories 2016-10-21T19:03:15+00:00

Success Stories

HandUp Helps Clients Reach Their Goals

Success-Stories_Aubri“This past year has really been difficult for me. I found myself homeless after leaving a tumultuous relationship. I entered SOS’s emergency shelter, determined to beat the odds. I worked hard with the case managers to achieve the goals that were set before me, and I did! I was able to find housing for myself and my son, Aiden. I am no longer homeless, and now I’m working to re-establish myself and get back on my feet.” After moving into her own apartment and finding employment, Aubri created a profile on SOS’s HandUp page to raise funds to secure reliable transportation. In just three months, donor contributed over $1,000 for Aubri to put towards the purchase of a new vehicle.

“I just wanted to way thank you to all the people that have sent donations. I am working hard each day to give my son Aiden the life he deserves. When people go out of their way to help us, it keeps me going, and gives me a change to help someone else too! Your donation goes a lot further than you think. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!”

Homelessness Has No Age Limit

Success-Stories_JonJon first became homeless after leaving an abusive household at the age of 18. For nine years Jon found himself in a vicious cycle of being precariously housed and staying at homeless shelters. At the age of 27, he found himself living on the streets of Oakland County for over four months. SOS first met Jon at the Welcome Inn Day Center in March of 2013 where he enrolled in our Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) program. By April, Jon was successfully housed. With stable housing and his outgoing and friendly personality, Jon quickly found part-time employment as a greeter at a local Home Depot. Despite having no personal transportation, Jon maintained an excellent work record and consistently paid his portion of his rent on time and in full. While in PSH, Jon secured Social Security Benefits and worked with SOS staff to apply for food assistance programs, obtain health insurance, and maintain compliance with his mental health treatment.

Confident in his improved life skills, steady income, and ability to manage his mental health, Jon was ready to transition into a less intensive housing program. SOS recommended Jon for a housing voucher program where he could live more independently while still receiving rental assistance. Jon was accepted into the program, and in November 2014, moved to a community of his choice and enrolled in SOS’s follow-up care program where he currently receives less intensive case management services. Eager to give back to SOS and encourage others struggling with homelessness, Jon participated in SOS’s inaugural 5k/10k race in August 2014.

A Volunteer Finds Himself in Need


A former SOS volunteer at St. David’s Episcopal Church in Southfield, Ken never imagined that one day he would be the one in need, sleeping on mattresses in parish halls. But in 2014, Ken lost his job and quickly found himself in that exact situation. “Thankfully I was able to get into SOS right away and only spent one night on the street. Still, that one night was terrifying. I can’t imagine living like that long term.” Ken received housing assistance through SOS and moved into his own apartment. Shortly after, Ken secured full-time employment at an insurance company. Ken is now participating in SOS’s follow-up care program, is approaching 90 days of employment, will soon receive full-time benefits, and is paying his rent in full on his own.

Ken recalled staying at SOS when a congregation unexpectedly could not host our shelter for their assigned week. “I was really struck by how hard everyone worked to make sure we were taken care of and had everything we needed. One night, the volunteers that came in were from all different faiths. I was really moved by how they all came together for us. Even though I use to volunteer with SOS, I came into the shelter with my own stereotypes of what homeless people were like. But I found this was a group of decent people. My thoughts of what it means to be homeless have changed completely. I am so grateful to everyone at SOS for what they did for me.”

Lisa’s Courage Led Her Three Boys to Safety

Success-Stories_LisaA single mother of three boys, Lisa and her family entered SOS’s shelter after relocating from Georgia. She once made a life for herself and her family by working as an assistant manager at a pizza franchise, but an abusive relationship caused a chain reaction leading to loss of employment and homelessness. “My abuser would come to my job and try to force himself in before opening hours. He would continuously call my work and threaten me. Once I lost my job, I was no longer able to afford the place we were residing in. I did not feel safe, so I took my boys our of school and ended up relocating to Michigan and regaining safety and security at SOS.”

Lisa and her family were among the 29% of 2014 SOS shelter guests who experienced domestic violence. SOS assisted Lisa in enrolling her sons in school, connecting to food assistance programs, obtaining a Michigan ID, connecting with counseling services, paying her utility arrears, and most importantly, moving her family into their new home. Housed, safe, and free from fear, Lisa is now enrolled in SOS’s follow-up care program and is looking for employment. She hopes to enroll in school to continue her studies to become a pharmacist in the near future.