Macomb Resources is a collection of resource lists for anyone in need in Macomb County, Michigan. Many of the lists were created and updated by Dan Pfaff, a long time employee of the Michigan Department of Human Services. Some of the lists were created and are updated by other Human Services professionals and are posted here. Several lists were substantially updated by the work of interns who patiently called many phone numbers and collected the information.
If you know of information that has changed, or if you have suggestions or questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org Thank you for your help!!
Dan Pfaff is a Family Independence Manager, currently with the Pathways to Potential Program that puts DHS workers in the schools. Dan is a 37 year employee of the Department of Human Services. He was awarded the FIA Employee Recognition Award by Director Doug Howard in August, 2002. He has served on the HSCB Interagency Communication Workgroup, the Metropolitan Detroit Refugee Task Force, the Macomb Regional Interagency Coordinating Committee, the United Way Housing Workgroup, and for six years was chairperson of the Accessing Mainstream Resources Subcommittee for the Macomb Homeless Coalition. His committee, together with the whole Coalition, planned and implemented the Community Connection Day in January, 2007,which won an award from the National Association of Counties. He is currently Co-Executive Vice President of the Inter Agency Council and a member of the Advisory Board at Crossroads Clubhouse. He was co-coordinator of The Warming Center week for the homeless at St. Edmund/St. Faustina Church for the past 9 years. He received the Community Spirit Award from Disbility Network of Oakland and Macomb in August, 2010. He was awarded the Barbara Bauman Homeless Advocate Award by the Macomb Homeless Coalition in November, 2010. He created and maintains a resource website, http://macombresources.info and moderates an email group for human services professionals and caring individuals in Macomb County.
Dan's speech at Disability Networks' fundraiser 8/5/10:
I want to start by saying thank you to the staff at Disability Networks for honoring me with The Community Spirit Award for 2010. It means a great deal to me--I will treasure it always. But I feel like there are many people who are more deserving of this award--indeed many of you here in this room--who do so much for the disabled, and also for other groups in need such as the elderly, the homeless, low income persons, and victims of domestic violence or mental illness or substance abuse. The workers at Disability Networks are my heroes, they have my praise and admiration for the urgently needed work that they do day in and day out. And all of you are my heroes as well--everyone who works in any area of human services, or supports the work that we do--in short everyone here!
But there is another group of people I must also thank tonite. And they are the disabled persons whom we jointly serve: our clients, our customers. It has been my job as a supervisor at DHS to watch over and assist our staff who make the eligibility determinations for various programs like for cash assistance, Medicaid, Food Assistance, and Emergency payments. But I also take many calls from customers who are denied assistance, who are desperate for help--I hear the most amazing and distressing stories you could ever imagine. These phone calls were my motivation for creating a website to tell people how to get free prescriptions, and how to find the free clinics and other free programs and services. As you may know there is an ongoing health insurance crisis in America. Yes, Social Security Disability and SSI DO exist, but for many or most applicants, there are no benefits until after the Judicial Hearing, which has a wait of two years or more. There IS Medicaid for the disabled, but only if they meet a strict disability test--which can take months to gain, and many never qualify at all. The new federal legislation will help, but not until the year 2014. There IS cash assistance from the State for the disabled, but it only pays $269 per month--and it is almost as hard to get as Social Security. To qualify for these programs, you have to be unable to do ANY work--but you are without the health insurance you need to be ABLE to work! Into this incredible nightmare many people fall--no health insurance, no income, and no way to get them. How they are able to live with nothing at all, on the charity of family, friends, and neighbors--is a mystery and an inspiration to me. In their phone calls they calmly describe often incredible problems, privations, burdens--not least the pain and anguish of untreated medical conditions, and the growing isolation that comes with disability. I often wonder if I were in their shoes and had to endure even a 10th of what they have to handle if I could do what they do, or if I would crumble. But they do survive, and persevere, and even help each other and us. What they have to go through is a travesty and a shame on our country, but their toughness, their incredible resilience is tribute to the endurance of humankind.
So how can we respond to the needs of the disabled? We must do more, we must listen with our hearts, we must work tirelessly, but above all we must collaborate-- collaborate within and and among agencies and organizations--because by sharing our knowledge and experience and information and by helping each other, we multiply what we can accomplish many, many times over.
So for this award I say thank you to everyone here, but most of all thank you the people we serve. You have given us so much without even knowing it. Thank you, and God bless you!
From "The Warming Centrer Report" written by Dan, published in St. Faustina Church Bulletin 3/2/14:
....The Warming Center operates from late November through early April, one week at each Church. It is the last refuge for many of the homeless who are considered the hardest to serve; the only condition for admission is good behavior while they are with us. The recent count of the homeless in January found that there are 988 homeless in Macomb, including families living in motels. As of 2/16/14, 535 unique individuals, young and old, new folk and regulars, have used the Warming Center shelter so far this winter season. They all have very different stories, many involving disabilities (both physical and mental) and substance abuse (past and ongoing). Serving these folk is a challenge not only logistically, but also emotionally, because many are defensive, and interact with us with only superficial pleasantries or a forced sort of humor. So it was quite a notable event when they said thank you, again and again, with amazement, for the $5 McDonald’s coupons we gave out on the last day. It was even more remarkable that several guests obtained and signed a thank you card, and insisted that it be presented to our volunteers. This had never happened in our previous 8 years—it was the first card we have ever received. Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see (Mark Twain). We glean some meaning from a familiar gospel passage, Luke 4:18, when Jesus enters the synagogue, and reads a passage from Isaiah 61:The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free. Luke altered the quoted passage from Isaiah by omitting “to heal the brokenhearted” and added instead (from Isaiah 58) “to let the oppressed go free.” The homeless, of course, are not physical captives. But their oppression is real, and the comparison is painfully close, not only because of their physical hardship, which is severe, but more so because of the social isolation and rejection they live with. What is equally true is that we too are set free. We the volunteers, we the helping community—we are set free from our routines and the confines of our daily lives when we are confronted by urgent demands and thrust into situations where we are off balance, yet challenged to respond. We grow, we give, we see. So Jesus says: Today this scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.
So thank you for giving a warm place of refuge to the homeless to keep them safe for a week, and thank you for giving them food that has kept them fed for a week, and thank you for so generously sharing your friendship to ease the sting of rejection. By doing these things we, all of us, guests and community together, share a miraculous kindness that sets us free.
The Christian Service Commission
(editor's note: in the winter of 2013-14, 17 Churches and 1521 volunteers provided 10,579 shelter nights and 21,153 meals to 644 homeless persons through the Macomb County Warming Center)