A Homeless Woman Was Just Discovered Living In A Grocery Store Sign In Michigan — For Over A Year

Published May 14, 2024
Updated May 15, 2024

Contractors investigated an unusual extension cord on the roof of a Family Fare store in Midland, Michigan — and discovered a 34-year-old woman living inside the grocery store sign.

Family Fare In Midland Michigan

Family Fare/WEYIThe sign of the Family Fare in Midland, Michigan, where a woman had been living for about a year.

A 34-year-old woman in Midland, Michigan was found living in the rooftop sign of a local supermarket toward the end of April. The woman, who remains unidentified, had apparently been living inside the Family Fare sign for about a year, authorities said, and had outfitted the space with flooring, a Keurig coffee maker, a pantry stocked with food, a potted houseplant, a miniature desk, and a computer.

The woman has not been charged with any crime, though she was informed by authorities that she could not live there. She left without incident.

With no sign of a ladder nearby, it’s unclear how the woman had been getting up and into the sign, or how she had gone undetected for so long.

Contractors Discovered An Extension Cord, Leading Them To The Woman’s Makeshift Home

Overall, the space the woman lived in was around 10 to 15 feet long, five feet wide, and roughly eight feet tall at the highest point, the Midland Police Department said. Her makeshift living space was found by contractors working on the store’s roof, who saw an extension cord near the sign.

After the woman was asked to leave, Officer Brennon Warren of the Midland Police Department noted that the “store was going to work with her on retrieving all of her property at a later time,” per The New York Times.

“I personally have never encountered a situation like this, and neither have my colleagues,” Warren said of the shocking discovery.

Police informed the woman of several homeless services in the area, but she reportedly declined the assistance. Authorities are unsure where she went after leaving the small space above Family Fare.

SpartanNash, the company that operates Family Fare, issued a statement commending its associates for responding to the situation with “compassion and professionalism,” adding that affordable housing “continues to be a widespread issue nationwide” across America.

“Out of respect for privacy for the individual involved, we will not be sharing further comment,” the statement concluded.

Family Fare Set To Donate $10,000 To Local Homeless Shelters

Shortly after the news broke of the woman’s unusual living quarters, the Detroit Free Press reported that Family Fare had committed to donating $10,000 to a local organization that helps homeless people.

In a Facebook post, Midland’s Open Door thanked Family Fare for their donation, writing, “Because of your compassionate gift, Open Door can continue providing real help and lasting hope for the most vulnerable in our community 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.”

Still, despite Family Fare’s donation, the entire situation has raised even more concern about the current state of housing, both locally in Midland, Michigan and on a larger scale across the United States.

Between 2021 and 2022, Michigan alone saw an eight percent increase in the number of people facing homelessness, with Midland County itself seeing a 26 percent increase year over year. Nationwide statistics paint an even bleaker picture. Overall, since 2017, homelessness in America has increased by six percent, with more than 400,000 people experiencing homelessness — roughly 127,000 of whom are “chronically homeless individuals.”

A combination of high inflation, increased property rates, a general lack of affordable housing, and several other factors all contribute to the ever-growing number of people who struggle to afford to live.

As this story shows, people who are struggling to get by are likewise growing more desperate — and finding unique solutions to their problems.

After reading about the woman who was living in a grocery store sign, read about seven horrifying instances of phrogging. Then, learn about the failure of Chicago’s Cabrini-Green housing development.

Austin Harvey
A staff writer for All That's Interesting, Austin Harvey has also had work published with Discover Magazine, Giddy, and Lucid covering topics on mental health, sexual health, history, and sociology. He holds a Bachelor's degree from Point Park University.
Jaclyn Anglis
Jaclyn is the senior managing editor at All That's Interesting. She holds a Master's degree in journalism from the City University of New York and a Bachelor's degree in English writing and history (double major) from DePauw University. She is interested in American history, true crime, modern history, pop culture, and science.
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Harvey, Austin. "A Homeless Woman Was Just Discovered Living In A Grocery Store Sign In Michigan — For Over A Year." AllThatsInteresting.com, May 14, 2024, https://allthatsinteresting.com/michigan-family-fare-sign. Accessed May 23, 2024.