2017-12-10 / Insight

Love, INC helps the homeless every week

‘None of us are safe from homelessness’
BY PHIL FOLEY
810-452-2616 • pfoley@mihomepaper.com


Sue Brady has been executive director of Love INC. in Mayfield Township for 13 of its 19 years. The social service organization, which helps the homeless among others, will turn 20 this April. 
Photo by Phil Foley Sue Brady has been executive director of Love INC. in Mayfield Township for 13 of its 19 years. The social service organization, which helps the homeless among others, will turn 20 this April. Photo by Phil Foley MAYFIELD TWP. — The latest report on homelessness from the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development indicated homelessness in Michigan has dropped 30.7 percent since the depths of the Great Recession in 2010.

Still, Sue Brady, executive director of Love INC., said she’s seeing three to four homeless people a week looking for help and since September she’s found temporary shelter for nine families, which represented 15 adults and 10 children.

For every homeless person you see,” she said, “there’s five you don’t see.”

While many think of the homeless as winos living in a tent in the woods by the creek, Brady said there isn’t single face to homelessness. “The women who end up in LACADA because of abuse are homeless, basically.”


Sue Brady, executive director of Love INC., takes a moment with Columbiaville’s Joanne St. Pierre, the group’s vice president. Love INC. has two paid staff and nearly 100 volunteers. 
Photo by Phil Foley Sue Brady, executive director of Love INC., takes a moment with Columbiaville’s Joanne St. Pierre, the group’s vice president. Love INC. has two paid staff and nearly 100 volunteers. Photo by Phil Foley She said some people are homeless because of mental health issues; others because of drug and alcohol issues; some are homeless because they’ve just been release from jail or prison; and still others because of a sudden change in financial situations. Brady said she recently had a single guy in his 50s show up at her office in the parking lot behind Lapeer Church of Christ on North Lapeer Road.

“He just started work and he got an eviction notice. If his rent is not paid, he’ll be homeless,” Brady said. She explained the man, who had been a sharpshooter in the service when he was younger, lost his job at one fastfood restaurant and by the time he got another job, he’d fallen behind in his rent.

She took another call recently from a woman whose daughter was being let out of jail after doing time on a drug charge. The older woman said she couldn’t let her daughter stay with her because she was caring for her granddaughter and part of the condition of her daughter’s release was not having contact with the child.

Brady said the older woman had gotten her daughter a motel room for the night, but didn’t know what to do next. “We got her into the system,” she said.

“None of us are safe from homelessness,” Brady said. Ideally, she’d like to see a centralized homeless shelter, but she doesn’t believe that will ever happen.

In the meantime, The Refuge, a cooperative effort of 10 local churches, offers the homeless a place out of the cold from November through April. Brady added, through the help of Lapeer Inn and Suites, she can get emergency shelter for families with children for up to a week, and often the Salvation Army can cover the cost of a second week while they get them squared away with social services.

Brady noted that at a recent Project Homeless Connect event, 39 homeless people showed up, along with 12 who were staying in shelters and another 22 who were couch surfing. She said 68 unemployed people, who were potentially homeless also showed up.

“We’ve started to see more single women, some as old as 61,” she said. However, she noted, most of the chronic homeless are men.

Brady said that while she sees some transient homeless, “85 percent are locals.” She described what Love INC does to help them as “a band-aid.”

She said a lot of the homeless people she sees are working, “but it’s not enough to take care of a family.”

“We all have to work together to make this work,” she said.

Love INC is a Michigan-based nationwide organization. The Lapeer group is one of 137 chapters across the country. Lapeer’s Love INC. serves as a clearing house for 27 area churches. It provides a wide range of services ranging from counseling to emergency shelter.

To learn more, call 810-245-2414.

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