OLHSA Outlook


CEO Message
OLHSA reflects on the past year and looks forward to future endeavors
As 2021 draws to a close many community members have been struck by unfortunate tragedy. OLHSA honors and remembers those affected by the tragic events at Oxford Community Schools. We are heartbroken and we stand in support with the families, students, and staff during this difficult time. #OxfordStrong  

OLHSA also honors and remembers former OLHSA Chief Operating Officer, Lynn Crotty. Lynn provided 25 years of unwavering leadership in Early Childhood Education, Family Reunification, and Operations. Lynn's community action spirit will continue to inspire people.

Every year OLHSA is faced with and overcomes challenges while providing services to those in need. We are proud of the accomplishments we've achieved during 2021 and will continue to help those struggling to the best of our ability in the future. This year OLHSA assisted a total of 8,623 people. That number includes over 3,500 children under 18 and over 1,500 senior citizens assisted through OLHSA programs.

Our team is looking forward to kicking off our 2022 program year of community action. We are excited to announce the board approval of our 2021 Community Needs Assessment. We will be highlighting areas of opportunity that were found over the upcoming few months.

Wishing you a happy holiday season!

With gratitude,

Susan Harding
Chief Executive Officer

COVID Emergency Rental Assistance ProgramOLHSA is offering COVID Emergency Rental Assistance (CERA) in Oakland and Livingston Counties. Has COVID-19 made you unable to pay rent and utilities? If so, we may be able to help.
  • CERA funds help keep low-income residents in their rental units.
  • CERA funds can provide households assistance with arrearages, utility payments, case management, internet stipends, and other supportive services that keep renters stably housed and avoiding homelessness.
Learn more about CERA Rental Assistance or Welcome Center Services at

OLHSA's upcoming classes and events

Check out OLHSA's upcoming events and classes below. You can find more details and updated information at or on OLHSA's Facebook page. 

Grandparents Raising Grandchildren
Wednesday, January 12, 2022 - 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

OLHSA’s Grandparents Raising Grandchildren provides free support to kinship caregivers and grandparents as parents, who live with and are raising grandchildren in Oakland, Macomb, and Livingston Counties. GRG is sponsored by OLHSA, a Community Action Agency, and Area Agency on Aging 1-B. To join the meeting virtually, contact Lisa G. at or 248-209-2721.


January Homebuyer Education Webinar - One Day
Tuesday, January 11, 2022 - 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

This is a 1-day, 5-hour, Zoom Webinar for Oakland & Livingston County, Michigan residents, to be held Tuesday, January 11th, 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.  Join us and learn about the home-buying process - including credit, budgeting, down payment assistance, and mortgage approval and closing. A MSHDA Certificate of Completion will be provided at end of class for all who attend the entire 5 hours.

When you register you will be sent an email confirming your registration.  Then, 2 business days prior to the class, you will be sent the Zoom link and other information related to the webinar.  If you do not receive either of these emails, look in your SPAM folder or contact PRIOR to the day of the class.  We may not be able to answer the email the day of the class. 

Registration will be available mid-December here.

Please be sure to complete a registration for each person attending.  If you have questions or problems please email

Livingston County Walk for Warmth 2022
Saturday, February19, 2022,  8:30 a.m. – 11 a.m.

Save The Date for Livingston County's 32nd Annual Walk For Warmth! The date is subject to change based on Michigan health and safety guidelines.

Walk for Warmth brings the community together annually to raise funds that support local families who are struggling to stay safe and warm year-round. Walk proceeds reduce the challenges some families face during the cold season - having to choose between warmth or going into debt to meet their basic needs. OLHSA is honored to serve people during emergency situations and also to work collaboratively with families on long-term solutions. Walk for Warmth donations have helped families to have lasting, positive change. You can help! Walk or create your own fundraising team to keep local families safe & warm. Find more information on how to sign up to walk or sponsor here.

OLHSA's Water Residential Assistance Program

Water Residential Assistance Program (WRAP) is a 2 year program providing funding to eligible, low-income homeowners to assist with water bills, water conservation, and self-sufficiency initiatives. Participants may re-enroll after one year.

  • Assistance up to $1,500 per household: including bill credits and $1,200 in arrearage assistance for eligible communities
  • Participants may receive up to $625 in the first month of enrollment
  • Supporting WRAP-Around Services
  • Home water audit & minor plumbing repairs up to $2,000
For more information about the program and eligibility visit

Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Happenings

A big thank you to Big Family of Michigan and Lisa Bica Grodsky, Program Operations Manager for OLHSA Grandparents Raising Grandchildren, for coordinating a curbside holiday event for kinship caregivers.

Santa, one of his elves, and the Detroit Institute of Arts were all on hand to spread holiday cheer! Big Family of Michigan, a non-profit in Saint Clair Shores, assists children in Kinship Care, Foster Care and kids aging out of the child welfare system. They helped Lisa and the GRG staff with 205 gifts for children in three counties being raised by their grandparents or other kin. The packages included their holiday wishes, many with winter coats or bedding, and each child received a stuffed animal. 

Discover works of art created by participants in the DIA’s Community Group Program, a partnership between the museum and human service agencies in Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb counties. OLHSA's very own Grandparents Raising Grandchildren program was featured during the exhibit.

"Working with community members to tell their stories through artmaking and watching them connect with each other through the art they share, is incredibly gratifying" says Byron Nemela, DIA Studio Programs Coordinator. "The DIA's partnership with OLHSA represents the best of what we do in the Detroit area, and all we need to do is look in the faces of the participants in these classes to see it!"

Find more information about the exhibit here.
Weatherization Assistance Program Request for Proposals

OLHSA is seeking qualified contractors to participate in the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) in Oakland and Livingston Counties. This Request for Proposals (RFP) for Weatherization General Contractor Services will be open until January 11, 2022, at 4:00 p.m. local time. Find more information here

Virtual Trivia Fundraiser Thank You!

With OLHSA’s Virtual Trivia Night sponsorship support from Doug Williams, Patty Soma, and the Roach Family and from attendee donations, over $2,900 was raised for workforce readiness success (Find information about the BRN Success Coaches Program in the article below). We could not have done it without YOU! Thank you! 

There are still opportunities to support OLHSA’s great work assisting local people with housing, employment supports, early education, food security, and asset development. Support OLHSA here.

Business Resource Network Success Coaches Program

Oakland County Michigan Works! is partnered with Oakland Livingston Human Service Agency (OLHSA) to offer the Business Resource Network (BRN) employee retention assistance program to help county businesses keep their workers, a challenge given today’s record-low unemployment and competitive job market across the region. The program is patterned after similar ones in Michigan and other parts of the country, giving employers access to an OLHSA “success coach” who will connect employees with resources to help them address a broad range of issues outside of work.

BRN Success Coaches have designated, weekly time scheduled to be either on site or virtually available for BRN company employees. Employees receive confidential coaching on the navigation of community resources and support as they can begin taking their next steps to reach personal or professional goals.  BRN Success Coaches can assist with addressing a wide range of issues, including budgeting and money management, transportation concerns, food insecurity, child care, housing, and career goals amongst many other supports that can improve employment wellness and stability. 
The BRN program is currently available at no cost to interested Oakland County employers that were negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The BRN is funded by the Oakland County Workforce Development Board and Oakland County through federal American Rescue Plan funds. BRN employers participate in monthly partner meetings to discuss issues and trends to support their employees. 

Oakland County businesses interested in joining the BRN can contact Elizabeth Rivard-Weston, Retention Services Coordinator, Oakland County Workforce Development at (248) 858-0922 or

OLHSA Employee of the Year 2021

Congratulations to OLHSA's Employee of the Year for 2021, Debra Starrs R.N., B.S.N., Associate Director for Health Services, Early Childhood Services!

Debra works hard to help all of the children OLHSA serves overcome barriers they are facing. Coworkers at OLHSA praise Debra for working endlessly no matter what time of the day or night to get answers and help to better the lives of families.

Deb was a hard worker before COVID-19 and even more so now. She is continually making sure that staff is informed on the most updated information on COVID-19 so we can advise the families we assist and work to keep them safe. 

She works as the Associate Director for Health Services for Early Childhood Services, however her work does not stop there. Deb works for OLHSA as a whole.  She is committed and works diligently with everyone in the agency to ensure all staff are safe and follow CDC and OCHD’s health protocols. She has been a catalyst to keep staff, families, and children safe in these unprecedented times.

Deb goes above and beyond everyday. During 2020 while everyone was working from home, Deb was willing to come to the agency to help with food delivery, ordered cleaning supplies, and ensured Head Start families had materials delivered to their home.

OLHSA is grateful for Deb and her passion to advocate for families, children, and staff.

OLHSA Job Opportunities

Looking for a career that allows you to help others in need? We are hiring in our Head Start programs, weatherization, and more! To start your application visit:

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2021 OLHSA Board of Directors


Khalfani Stephens - Chair
Brent Earl - Vice Chair
Commissioner Janet Jackson - Secretary
Douglas Williams - Treasurer

Public Sector Board Members

Commissioner Douglas Helzerman, Livingston County Board of Commissioners
Commissioner Janet Jackson, Oakland County Board of Commissioners
Honorable Phyllis McMillen, Oakland County Judicial
Debbie Miller, Government and Public Service
Joe Del Morone, Oakland County
Commissioner Angela Powell, Oakland County Board of Commissioners
Khalfani Stephens, Government and Public Service

Private Sector Board Members

Brent Earl, Livingston County Business and Industry
Lisa Straske, Oakland Business and Industry
Ellen Terpening, Oakland Business and Industry
Douglas Williams, Oakland Business and Industry

Community Representative Sector Board Members

Victor Arbulu, Health/Disabled/Nutrition
Taressa Ariss, Livingston County – Homeless COC
Yohannes Bolds, Youth Concerns
Ronda Dawson, Head Start Policy Council
Holbert Maxey, Housing
Patty Soma, Senior Citizens 
Willia M. Wright, Multi-cultural