Urban Pathways raises over $800,000 in most successful Gala yet.

On Wednesday, May 1st, 2019 at the Grand Hyatt New York, more than 430 guests attended our Gala and raised over $800,000 in celebration of the work Urban Pathways is doing to move homeless New Yorkers of the streets.

The night opened with cocktail hour featuring a silent auction where guests networked and bid on rare auction experiences in support of Urban Pathways.

The event also featured an exhibition of the Homeless Essentials photo documentary. Guests had the opportunity to see the photographs up close and to speak with the creators and photographer of the project.

The dinner portion of the night was emceed by CNN Anchor and Special Correspondent Bill Weir, who spoke of his connection to Urban Pathways and our outreach teams. Guests then watched the inspiring Champions for Change video.

Following the video, Chief Executive Officer Fred Shack spoke about Urban Pathways’ accomplishments in the past year, the vision for the future, and recognized the night’s honorees, client speaker, and staff.

After Fred’s remarks, Urban Pathways Client Charisma White spoke of her journey from homelessness to becoming a voice for herself and others with the help of the Urban Pathways Advocacy Group. We are happy to announce that after 25 years of homelessness Charisma moved into her apartment on May 6th!

This year’s Gala video titled “The Work We Do” featured Urban Pathways’ Cluster House staff including Program Director Jacqueline Slaton and Director of Social Services Louis Farmer. The video takes you into our Cluster house residence to see the team that works with our clients to develop their independence. After the video, attendees generously pledged over $190,000 to support our work with Auctioneer Harry Santa-Olalla leading the call.

After Dinner, President of the Board of Directors Steven “Shep” DiCesare introduced President and Chief Executive Officer of Rockefeller Group Dan Moore, who accepted the 2019 Award for Community Development. State Senator Roxanne Persaud also issued a Proclamation honoring Rockefeller Group for its contributions to our city.

Then President Emeritus of the Board of Directors Gary Belsky introduced Adina Lichtman, founder of Knock Knock, Give A Sock, who accepted the 2019 Award for Humanitarian Service. Adina then shared how her organization turns simple “transactions” with the homeless into lasting “interactions”.

Finally, Bill Weir closed the evening thanking everyone who attended the Gala and reminding our guests that they can directly help a homeless person by taking the Clif Bars donated by Rockefeller Group and socks donated by Bombas and Knock Knock, Give A Sock in our signature centerpieces, and giving them to someone in need.

Urban Pathways branded Clif Bars provided our phone number so that the recipient can follow-up to receive services and be connected with housing.

Thank you to all who attended and supported Urban Pathways Gala this year. The funds raised directly benefit the services we provide to at-risk and homeless New Yorkers.

Click here to view the event photo album.

About Urban Pathways
Urban Pathways is a New York City-based, nonprofit organization that provides housing and support to homeless and at-risk adults throughout the Metropolitan area. Urban Pathways serves more than 3,700 homeless individuals a year and provides transitional, extended stay, and permanent housing to chronically homeless individuals. www.urbanpathways.org. Donate

Staff Focus: Renita Pagan - Senior Case Manager

Renita Pagan - Urban Pathways Senior Case Manager

Renita Pagan - Urban Pathways Senior Case Manager

Urban Pathways’ Communications Staff recently sat down with one of the amazing employees from one our Safe Haven transitional residences. Renita Pagan has worked for Urban Pathways for two years as a Case Manager, and was recently promoted to Senior Case Manager.

Renita grew up in Peekskill, New York and in college majored in criminal justice. She now lives in New York City and is one year into an MSW program at Hunter College’s Silberman School of Social Work. Read below about how Renita and the staff at Travelers engage and connect with our clients and help them in the initial stages of regaining their independence.

How long have you worked at Urban Pathways? What site?
I have worked at Urban Pathways for two years, all at Travelers Safe Haven.

What type of clients reside at Travelers?
Travelers has a capacity of 50 beds. Clients who reside in Travelers are men and women who have been chronically homeless and have been on the street for a year or more.

What is your title?
I am a Case Manager at Travelers. I was promoted to Senior Case Manager on February 1st.

What are some of your responsibilities at UP?
I meet with each client once a week. I conduct room inspections, facilitate wellness and advocacy groups, community meetings and holiday events.

How do you help clients once they arrive at Travelers?
Once clients arrive at Travelers, I assess the client by finding out what services they need immediately, whether its benefits, government aid they have not been receiving, identification, primary medical care, or a psycho-social examination. The objective of these meetings is to create goals to add to the client’s service plan, goals that are client-centered, and goals they need to reach to attain permanent housing. These meetings help to give the clients a structure and to build trust.

How long do clients stay at Travelers before moving on?
Clients stay six months on average, a year being the longest. Since July, we have placed 16 clients into housing and we are ahead of all of the other Safe Havens in New York City. Last year, Travelers finished second in placements across the whole city.

Where do clients usually move on to?
Clients who move on, move on to temporary supportive housing, rent rooms, or acquire housing through the 15/15 Program.

Do you have outside guests come in and volunteer?
We have several individuals and organizations volunteering at Travelers. From events like a nonalcoholic sip & paint event to The Urban Justice Center having workshops on getting benefits, helping clients with appeals, or addressing other issues.

How does staff collaborate to assist a client in their wellness?
The staff communicates about the clients through weekly meetings, as Case Managers work varying hours. Having all the staff on the same page regarding a client aids in keeping that client on track with their goals. It’s also good to have all staff know what is going on with all of our clients at Travelers, not just their case load.

Do clients have meals? Do they practice healthy eating at Travelers?
The clients at Travelers have great healthy options for food including: fruits, starches, meats, and vegetables. The clients are provided with breakfast, lunch and dinner. We have a nutritionist who comes in monthly to meet with clients and provide them with healthy food and snack recommendations.

How does it make you feel helping clients in wellness and recovery?
Helping clients is really rewarding for me. Clients typically have had no one in their corner and so it takes a little while for them to get used to our staff engaging with them. A lot of clients have never had an apartment, bed, and someone who cares about them. Clients often have trouble building a rapport with their Case Managers and do not like to open up because of what they have been through. Seeing those individuals go from being closed like that, to being able to have a conversation, open up to their Case Manager and move on to more stable housing is a big accomplishment for the client and the staff.

Any new initiatives, courses, programs that Travelers is doing in 2019?
I started this program called “House Readiness Group”, this program prepares clients for housing. The goal is to make sure the clients are comfortable being more independent, knowing their diagnosis and triggers, and how to manage their wellness.

What is the greatest need for clients at Travelers?
The greatest need for clients is support. Some are not ready for housing, but they need support to help them get ready.

About Urban Pathways
Urban Pathways is a New York City-based, nonprofit organization that provides housing and support to homeless and at-risk adults throughout the Metropolitan area. Urban Pathways serves more than 3,700 homeless individuals a year and provides transitional, extended stay, and permanent housing to chronically homeless individuals.
www.urbanpathways.org. Donate

Kareem’s Journey to Employment

UPwards Program Graduate Kareem

UPwards Program Graduate Kareem

Born and raised in Belize, Kareem graduated secondary school and was in college when he started hanging out with the wrong crowd.

During that time, Kareem’s father, who was a subcontractor, took him out of school and said,

If it’s money you want, I will teach you what I know so you can always make your own money.”

During that time of learning subcontracting work, Kareem and his brother met a missionary group that was building a settlement in Belize and he and his brother were hired by the group to build houses for their community.

Kareem and his brother were well liked by the missionary group and, in 2000, the missionary sponsored Kareem and his brother to come to the United States to help build another community in Indiana.

In Indiana, Kareem and his brother experienced racism for the first time. Being foreigners and minorities working in rural Indiana, they were not accepted by the residents and were treated harshly.

Soon after, Kareem and his brother left Indiana. His brother got engaged and moved back to Belize and Kareem stayed on, moving to New York City.

In New York, Kareem finally felt comfortable living in the United States. “It was joyful” Kareem said, “I finally got to meet my people.” A large Belizean population in New York made it easier for Kareem to settle and establish roots.

Kareem spent the first seven years in New York living in Manhattan with his aunt and working odd jobs. He did such good work that he was recommended by his cousin to become the Super of his aunt’s building. Soon after, Kareem got his own apartment and was doing well with a good job, an apartment, and a new born baby girl.

Kareem’s journey took an unexpected turn when he got into a domestic dispute with his girlfriend. The police were called. As a result, Kareem was terminated from his job and lost his apartment. “My girl went to the shelter, I lost my family, I lost everything right there.

Kareem started working at junkyards doing bodywork to make ends meet. He bought a car and lived in his car commuting to and from different junkyards for work.

During that time, I wouldn’t say I was homeless, I was making ends meet. I didn’t live in the street, I worked, and I lived in my car.

While living in his car he was engaged by Breaking Ground in Queens. Kareem was engaged multiple times by their outreach team. He was open to being helped and was taken to Urban Pathways’ Hegeman Safe Haven in Brooklyn. There Kareem learned about Urban Pathways and the UPwards Career Enhancement Program that would help him with finding a job.

Kareem signed up for the 12-week program that provides a comprehensive range of vocational rehabilitation services including career counselling, job training, internships, and referrals to educational programs. Participants have weekly classes they must attend that are taught by Career Development Specialists. These specialists assist the clients on both a one-on-one basis and in a group.

Kareem graduating from the UPwards Program in August

Kareem graduating from the UPwards Program in August

Ms. Elaine is wonderful, I have to thank her for everything. After my Dad passed away it was hard. I was ready to quit but Ms. Elaine stuck with me and gave me confidence.

Before his UPwards Program was completed, Kareem had secured a maintenance job in Brooklyn. He has been on the job for nine months and he loves it.

Honestly, I see myself retiring right here at this job. They love me, I get paid well and I am happy.

Kareem continues to keep in touch with his family back home in Belize. His father passed away four years ago and that continues to be hard for him, as he credits his father for teaching him everything he knows. Kareem is confident he will be moving into permanent housing soon and with his new job he is happy, confident, and thankful.

About Urban Pathways
Urban Pathways is a New York City-based, nonprofit organization that provides housing and support to homeless and at-risk adults throughout the Metropolitan area. Urban Pathways serves more than 3,700 homeless individuals a year and provides transitional, extended stay, and permanent housing to chronically homeless individuals. 
www.urbanpathways.orgDonate 

Music Kitchen Performs 100th Concert at Olivieri Drop-In Center!

Last month, Kelly Hall-Tompkins, Violinist and founder of Music Kitchen, hosted Music Kitchen’s 100th concert for clients and staff at our Antonio Olivieri Drop-In Center.

Music-Kitchen started 14 years ago, is a community service-oriented organization with a mission to bring top emerging and professional musicians together to share, inspire, and uplift New York’s at-risk and homeless population.

The 100th concert featured the Dvorak Bass Quintet and “For My Father” composed by Jeff Scott, Performed by Kelly Hall-Tompkins and Ben Russel, violins; Orlando Wells, viola; Peter Seidenberg, cello; Stephen Sas, bass; Allison Charney, soprano. With coverage provided by NBC’s Harry Smith to be aired on Sunday Today in New York on February 17th.

Over 30 clients and staff joined in the 90-minute concert where Kelly introduced the music, its origins, the composer, and the instruments being played. Kelly also explained the Song Cycle Commissioning Project entitled “Forgotten Voices” which will commission 15 of the top composers of our time to create works based on the reflections and insights shared by clients in the audience.

Clients enjoyed listening to classical music and engaging with the artists and Harry Smith of NBC after the concert. Lastly, clients and staff were treated to a cake celebrating the 100th performance.

We look forward to having Music Kitchen back at the Olivieri Drop-In Center again, later this month, for another concert for our clients!

About Urban Pathways
Urban Pathways is a New York City-based, nonprofit organization that provides housing and support to homeless and at-risk adults throughout the Metropolitan area. Urban Pathways serves more than 3,700 homeless individuals a year and provides transitional, extended stay, and permanent housing to chronically homeless individuals. 
www.urbanpathways.orgDonate