HFC alumnus Byron Brooks expands his work to help the homeless
Brooks has stayed close to HFC, and we continue to follow his story as he works to change the world, one person at a time.
Brooks, who earned his associate degree from HFC in 2018 in telecommunication, knows homelessness firsthand. For more than a year during his days at HFC, Brooks slept in parks, bus stops, and abandoned buildings. He worked several odd jobs to pay his way through college.
When members of the HFC faculty learned of his plight, they mobilized to help. They helped him find a place to live, referred him to HFC’s Counseling Office, and even assisted him in purchasing a car.
“While I was homeless, so many people showed me love and support,” said Brooks, a Detroit native who transferred to Ferris State University (FSU) in Big Rapids, where he is majoring in music and entertainment business.
Brooks’ story made headlines
Brooks was accepted to several well-known schools, including Harvard University and Columbia University, but he chose FSU because of its music program and his desire to remain in Michigan. His story made the local and regional news. FOX 2 Detroit, Local 4, and Channel 7, as well as the Dearborn Press & Guide covered his remarkable story.
A firm believer in paying it forward, Brooks founded a non-profit organization called From the Hood for the Hood (FHFH) in 2018, which is dedicated to fighting homelessness and championing other social justice causes, including education.
“Being homeless prepared me for what I’m doing right now,” said Brooks. “I know what it’s like to be homeless. I owe it to the homeless. I also owe it to myself to pay it forward.”
Since its inception, FHFH has has been very busy accomplishing its mission:
• Assisted more than 1,000 homeless or at-risk individuals
• Provided annual pizza parties, clothing, and other resources to area homeless shelters
• Fed the homeless across in Wayne, Kent, Genesee, and Mecosta counties
• Mentored at-risk youth across Wayne County
• Distributed more than 500 winter survival kits – duffel bags containing a weatherproof sleeping bag, hats, gloves, scarves, nonperishable snacks, coats, sweaters, and other winter clothing – to individuals in the Big Rapids/Grand Rapids area via Our Brother’s Keeper Shelter in Big Rapids and Mel Trotter Ministries in Grand Rapids
• Purchased winter boots for Mel Trotter Ministries to give to the homeless
• Provided bottled water to the citizens of Flint during its ongoing water crisis
• Adopted families for the holiday season through Detroit’s Adopt a Child Christmas Program at the TCF Center (formerly COBO Hall) • Purchased groceries for low-income families and at-risk students
• Established a community partnership with Disney to send at-risk families to Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, FL
“We’ve done a lot of good in the short time we’ve been around,” said Brooks. “This is just the warm-up act. We plan on partnering with many organizations to carry out our Life Readiness Shelter initiative, which will open a structured shelter to address youth homelessness in Detroit.”
Also in 2018, Brooks founded MoSoul Records, LLC, a sound-recording studio and record company that will provide audio and visual entertainment while investing in underdeveloped communities in Detroit. Sales from his record label will benefit charitable organizations in low-income neighborhoods, achieving his ultimate goal of merging his music interests with his philanthropic efforts.
“MoSoul Records is an unorthodox but sustainable record label that will provide a competitive edge and introduce economically friendly studio membership tiers,” said Brooks. “Our vision entails combining elements of the music industry, community development, and the social advocacy realm to revitalize, empower, engage, and develop communities within Detroit that have been overlooked. Once up and running, we would be able to utilize a percentage of our revenue to help continue the efforts of FHFH.”