Lighthouse Emergency Services crisis programs.

Focused on addressing a crisis, Lighthouse Emergency Services can provide clients a wide array of services. Among them include funds for paying certain living expenses and bills, however almost all clients will also need to take part in their Family Independent Initiative service.

The organization, known as LES, has been supporting Oakland County families for a number of years with their basic needs. Whether it is food or clothing, they may be able to assist. More extensive support, including for rent to stop an eviction, heating bills, or a deposit, may be available but of course is much more limited.

Staff and volunteers from LES assist Oakland County friends, families and neighbors overcome crisis situations. If fact, the organization is the largest provider of emergency human services in the region. They have highly trained and dedicated volunteers that partner with clients to determine what needs and issues they are struggling with. Based on that, they will decide what can be done (if anything) to resolve the immediate crisis.

Some of the services and assistance programs provided to income qualified families can include emergency food, money to prevent an eviction or utility disconnection prevention. There is also help with a medical need, such as prescriptions, or help with another type of need that has resulted in a crisis for the family. Addressing this short term needs takes the pressure off the family, as it is difficult to solve long-term goals when there isn’t enough food in the refrigerator or if the client is facing a crisis.

LES helps by tackling the tough problems. While direct assistance is the preference, in some cases they can only offer guidance to households in need. This includes referrals to emergency food pantries or helping them locate transportation. Other grant programs, such as ESG, are for averting homelessness through housing assistance program. Or a referral may be for LIHEAP, which can offer funds for stopping a heating service disconnection. Families will also be guided to independence and financial self-sufficiency.

To resolve the immediate crisis Lighthouse Emergency Services provides each family with help. Or they will support individuals, senior over 60, and disabled adults. The crisis aid may be a three-day supply of food; personal hygiene items; foreclosure counseling; prescription assistance; assistance with utilities and housing to avert eviction, and a ride to a job interview.




After some form of stability is in place, clients will benefit from 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 for residents in Oakland County, making good use of the family’s existing strengths and assets.

Family Independent Initiative was set up to be an innovative, non-service based approach to helping clients become self-sufficient. FII will also guide them so they can build up personal and financial assets. FII is different from traditional case management programs, in that participants are given the opportunity to self-direct while finding support for their efforts to resolve issues and crises by participating in peer groups.

This process requires a multiple year commitment. Throughout the process, families are provided with financial incentives for taking the initiative. LES may help with transportation or supplies, and this can be used for motivating them to make the changes that they have identified as being important in their lives.

Senior Services from LES offers senior citizens aged 60 and over resources that keep them independent and living in their own homes. Based on an in-home assessment done by Lighthouse Emergency Services, needs are determined and referrals are made for various types of programs and services.

The elderly in Oakland County may benefit from emergency food distribution; home-delivered meals, fruits and vegetables as well as low cost monthly luncheons. There are also grants as a form of assistance with housing or utility issues; and advocacy provided by LES staff members and volunteers.

Check ins take place too. Seniors also receive follow-up phone calls from workers, who provide support and assistance with solving any issue that might arise. It is also a form of companionship that can even find any health problems.





For women who are looking for work in Michigan, Career Dress is a source for free interview clothing. There may be shoes, undergarments, outerwear, and a hand bag passed out. Then, even after a job has been found, Career Dress from LES provides complete work outfits.

This program is run solely by dedicated volunteers, who assist dozens of women as well as single moms each month with looking great and feeling confident for their interviews. They are also available and willing to listen, empower our clients to succeed, and help women build much-needed self esteem.

During Thanksgiving, LES provides families with free gift baskets containing all of the traditional fixings associated with the holiday. This program differs from other more typical holiday meal services, in that they promote established family traditions by gathering for a meal in your own home.

Another holiday program is Adopt a Family. This is a one time event that provides a great way for families and seniors in need to end the year. Generous donors from Oakland County do their part by adopting a family or individual for the holidays, presenting them with the presents and gift items they requested.

LES has a few centers in the area. The main addresses are Clarkston Office at 6330 Sashabaw Rd., Clarkston, MI, 48346. Call 248-620-6116. Another site is at 46156 Woodward Ave. in Pontiac, Michigan 48342. Call 248-920-6000.




By Jon McNamara

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