Detroit woman opens her home to those in need during deep freeze

Image 1 of 4

There is a saying that charity starts at home, but would you open your house to complete strangers if it meant keeping them out of the cold?

Shelters across the nation often fill up in times of frigid temperatures but a Detroit woman is providing a place for people to stay - even as the temps drop.

She's known as many things, right now she's called Auntie Na. During the day outside of her house there are warm clothes people can take as well as food - and a little bit of love.

She takes in anybody with two legs or four, even Ragamuffin the dog. 

Auntie Na, otherwise known as Sonia Brown shelters the people and pets who need her at her various homes near Yellowstone and Elmhurst.

"It's not much but a cup of coffee and some shelter makes a difference in a long cold night out in the streets," she said.

Jackie Johnson found a permanent home because of Auntie Na.

"She's my sister, my mother," Johnson said. "(It's) fantastic, new house, new year. I can't wait."

Tony Willis also got back on his feet. He gave his dog to Auntie Na and found out "the dog was doing better than me," he said.

He volunteered but realized he needed help too.

"It's like a story but it is real life for me," he said. "It's a transcending thing, like taking a plant to another garden and growing it."

"It's not fit for beasts or humans," Auntie Na said. "So Lord knows, I prefer they make their way out this way." 

The cold is brutal but her heart and home are warm.

"The greatest gift that I can give is the warmth and the shelter," she said.

There are four homes right now but they are getting a fifth up and running.

For more information, Auntie Na can contact her at (313) 808-8940 or (313) 828-4691 or online at or