Transitional housing program PATH celebrates 25 years

A special program that helps homeless women and children in Oakland County is marking its 25th year of helping families.

Jenifer Hughes is proof, that sometimes you just need help getting back on the right "path."

She's working now and happy.

But just a few years ago, that wasn't the case.

Hughes had left an emotionally abusive relationship, then she lost her job.

She and her kids went to a shelter...But they were told they could only stay for a few days.

She didn't know what to do.

Then, someone told her about path.

"It was a blessing. It was just what I needed, what I prayed for every day," she said.

Lighthouse PATH is a long-term, transitional housing program for homeless mothers and their children.

PATH provides the tools for women to get back on their feet.

It all starts, with a place to stay -- an apartment with donated furniture, bedding, food and clothing.

"The first thing that we want our families to do is become stabilized. Before you can grow into your own self-sufficiency, you need to know that you have a place to stay for you and your children," said Wilma Abney, chief programs officer of Lighthouse of Oakland County.

That's just part of the program.

PATH also offers training to help women like Desiree McCullough get back on track.

They learn about things like finance, budgeting and parenting skills.

If they need help getting their GED, or applying for jobs, they get help with that too.

"I appreciate it very much, and I benefit from it a lot -- me and my son," McCullough said.

She is working at a new job now, and so is Hughes.

She got a college degree in business administration and has worked her way up to food and beverage supervisor at MGM Grand.

She says PATH has made all the difference and she's very grateful for the help.

"If you take advantage of what they offer, it can really amount to great things," Hughes said.

So far, PATH has helped more than 2,000 mothers and their children.

It's the only long-term program of its kind in southeast Michigan.

PATH is celebrating with an anniversary dinner Friday evening at the Community House in Birmingham.

Tickets can be purchased at the door.