Police help homeless mom and daughters staying in school parking lot

Posted at 5:26 PM, Sep 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-13 11:30:21-04

It all started in the parking lot of Walled Lake Elementary School. A Walled Lake Police Sergeant stopped by on Friday.  A mom approached her.

“She started asking me legal questions,” said Sgt. Heather Kolke.

“I asked her if it was illegal to sleep in a car and to see just in case if we did have to,” said Erin Harrison, a mom to twin daughters.

“So of course I started asking more questions of her and discovered she was going to be sleeping in the car tonight so she could get the kids to school in the morning. They were homeless,” said Sgt. Kolke.

Sgt. Heather Kolke says she learned the mom is hard-working and has worked at the nearby McDonald’s for years. She said she lost her home after the cost of lot rent went up. She planned to save money by sleeping in the school parking lot for a few days, as she worked to get long term housing. She had twin daughters about to turn 9-years-old the next day.

Sgt. Kolke told the mom to hold on a minute, that she had to make a few phone calls.

“As a mom, I knew I had to get her a place to stay,” said Sgt. Kolke.
Sgt Kolke called on community members and fellow officers.  Together they found a place where she could stay for a short time and donated gift cards to help her get by.  One officer even helped her get an interview for a higher paying job. He went with her to the interview, and it is promising.

That is not all.

“I was already talking to the girls, telling them I wasn’t going to be able to do anything for their birthday,” said Harrison.

She didn’t know that police and the community would make sure they had a party after Sgt. Kolke shared the family’s story.

“Balloons donated by Party City, a cake from Buttercream Bakery. They said their favorite food was Pizza Hut. They donated pizza,” said Sgt. Kolke.

“I am very proud of the Walled Lake Police,” said Linda Ackley, Mayor of Walled Lake.
Now the mayor is calling on the community to help a little more.  The police department is collecting donations to help with housing and clothes for the children.

“I just need some place for them it is all that I need,” said Harrison.

Her two daughters, Hayden and Abbigale, are in need of fall and winter clothing.  They both wear size 14 girls clothes and size 4 shoes.

The Walled Lake Police Department says donations can be dropped off during business hours.  If you would like to offer extra help for the family you can contact the department at  The department also has a non-profit called the Walled Lake Police Benevolent Association.  Tax-deductible donations can be made to the family through the association. 

“I feel like I was connected with Sgt. Kolke through God.  It is a reminder there are good people in the world,” said Harrison.