Fall Despair on Detroit’s East Side2 min read


Tina rattles off a list of friends she’s lost over the past few weeks. “Nicole, Trap, Octavia, the one that got hit on Rochelle and Chalmers at 7:30 in the morning, Stacy… Ghost.”

It’s been a difficult fall for the community that Deb Ellinger and Elli’s House serve. Recently, several people had either been shot, murdered, or died of other causes. Violence and death continue to impact a community that has been hurting for years. The Elli’s House white van is still making rounds throughout Detroit’s Eastside bringing food, hygiene packets, and clothes, but Ellinger and the crew are also trying to find a way to bring comfort and God’s grace to this area.

Elli’s House works to get women the help they need to leave the world of human trafficking. It’s a task that is not easy. Elli’s House hands out food, leggings, and blankets to the women they encounter who are in forced prostitution. Ellinger prays with many of the women on the streets and shares God’s blessings.

“There’s a lot of stress and tension out here,” Ellinger said. “We lost a girl to a shooting last Tuesday at the hotel and two weeks before that one of our girls got hit by a car and the car took off. And then one of the residents we talk to, a guy, was also shot last month, so in the last four weeks we’ve lost 3 people we really care about.” 

As difficult as it has been recently, the outreach becomes even more challenging as winter hits.

“It’s starting to get cold, so there’s a lot of anxiety surrounding where they’re going to sleep and if they’re going to be warm enough,” Ellinger said. “So there’s some tension surrounding the upcoming winter.” 

To help Elli’s House, you can purchase items directly from their Amazon Wish List or make a donation here. To learn how you can volunteer with Elli’s House or other ministries in the Michigan District, click here.

Photo and video by Jeff Heisner/Michigan District, LCMS

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About the Author

Jeffrey Heisner is the video journalist and digital media director for the Michigan District, LCMS.

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Gerald Grimm - November 9, 2022

Thank you for sharing this email. Deb Ellinger and her ministry, Elli’s House, continue to be a tremendous blessing in their neighborhood on Detroit’s east side.