John is "Moving On" to his own apartment!

 John Burnett is a participant in Urban Pathways' Moving On Initiative 

John Burnett is a participant in Urban Pathways' Moving On Initiative 

Born in Augusta Georgia and raised in the Bronx, John is the oldest of 8 children.

After high school John held various jobs ranging from: caterer, grounds keeper and nursing assistant among others. These jobs took John through East Coast states like: Maryland, South Carolina, and Georgia during the 80’s, 90’s and  settling in New York in the early 2000’s.

While living in Hunt’s Point New York, John’s building was condemned without warning due to the landlord being convicted of drug charges.

John was never able to retrieve his belongings and was homeless for the next 2 years.

During this time John couch-surfed with family while falling into a deeper depression that he had always been able to manage before becoming homeless. As his depression worsened, John’s drinking and drug use increased. Over the next 2 years, John migrated back through various East Coast states staying with family and friends. 

In 2013 John entered Bronx Works and stayed there for 2 years fighting depression, drug and alcohol addiction until his supervisor suggested detox so that he can find an apartment.

In 2015 John entered detox, and says the next 31 days were the best of his life. They lead to him quitting drugs and alcohol for good.

After his time in detox John came to Urban Pathways. During that time he graduated from the 6-month Howie The Harp peer advocate program. John continues to be drug and alcohol free, living at Urban Pathways' supportive housing residence, Cluster House on the Upper West Side. John is now a certified peer specialist working at The Bridge: a treatment center for individuals recovering from alcohol and drug abuse; as well as mental illness.

John will be moving into his own condo in Parkchester later this month as part of Urban Pathways Moving On Initiative.

Learn more about John’s pathway to independent housing through Urban Pathways at this year’s Way Home Awards & Gala May 10th at 6pm.

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 New York Metropolitan area.  Urban Pathways serves more than 2,000 homeless individuals a year and provides transitional, extended stay and permanent housing to chronically homeless individuals. www.urbanpathways.org. Donate

 

From The Streets of Harlem to Housing: Meet Val.

If you really want help to move forward, go to Urban Pathways

 Harlem, New York circa 1970's

Harlem, New York circa 1970's

Born and raised in Harlem in the 1960's Val was the eldest of her siblings. Having parents that were drug addicted and hardly around led Val to care for her brothers and sisters at the early age of 8.

Val dropped out of school in the 10th grade because she was constantly bullied for being in Special Education and ESL (English as a Second Language). She finally ran away from home at age 18 to escape her abusive father.

Val spent the next 19 years living in the streets addicted to crack-cocaine, engaging in prostitution, selling and couriering drugs. During this time, she had no contact with her family.

In 2003 Val was arrested and subsequently admitted to a psychiatric ward on Randall’s Island. While there, she was prescribed drugs that ballooned her weight to over 500lbs and left her disoriented daily. 

Upon her release from Randall’s Island in 2006 Val vowed to never use drugs again and to lose the weight she had gained while in the psych ward. In 2 years, Val lost 350lbs and received her certificate of sobriety; to which she still maintains today.

 Cluster House in New York City 

Cluster House in New York City 

Before learning of Urban Pathways from a friend, Val lived in half-way houses and couch-surfed with friends. After learning of Urban Pathways, Val was interviewed by Employment Specialist Hilton Douglas and placed in Cluster House; Urban Pathways supportive housing residence on the Upper West Side, where she has lived for the past 4 years.

Val is thankful for Urban Pathways and what they have done to help her get back on her feet. She has reconnected with family, is currently job searching and takes part in resident events like arts & crafts and photography that Cluster offers.

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 New York Metropolitan area.  Urban Pathways serves more than 2,000 homeless individuals a year and provides transitional, extended stay and permanent housing to chronically homeless individuals. www.urbanpathways.org. Donate

Mark Found The Way Home.

 Mark Stevenson

Mark Stevenson

Born and raised in Queens Mark Stevenson loved music and feeling the pulse of the city.

Traveling via trains, buses, and by foot with his friends they crafted a unique sound and started  a rap group called “Strictly Bizness” and released an album in the late 1980’s.

By the early 90’s Mark fell on hard times; not having a stable job and not being able to manage his un-diagnosed schizophrenia he was not able to pay his rent and subsequently lost his apartment 1991.  

For 25 years Mark slept in the park and in the streets.

After being engaged by a street outreach team for 8 years due to his resistance to services, in 2016 Mark finally agreed to go to Urban Pathway’s Hegeman site in Brooklyn with the promise of acquiring permanent housing.

In 2017 Mark’s case manager started working on replacing his identification, social security cards, and birth certificate so that he can be referred to housing. After having his documents replaced Mark interviewed for housing in January and was accepted later in the month.

He is currently waiting to move out of Hegeman and into his new apartment in Manhattan.

Learn more about Urban Pathways Moving-On Initiative and help us continue to provide #thewayhome to homeless and at risk New Yorkers.

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 New York Metropolitan area.  Urban Pathways serves more than 2,000 homeless individuals a year and provides transitional, extended stay and permanent housing to chronically homeless individuals. www.urbanpathways.org. Donate

Eli Carter: From Homelessness to Housing and Advocacy

 Eli Carter, formerly homeless resident of Urban Pathways' Safe Haven

Eli Carter, formerly homeless resident of Urban Pathways' Safe Haven

Born in Pensacola Florida, Eli moved to New York for work after finishing highschool in 1963.

Soon after arriving in New York Eli found a job working in a printing press. He worked at the same company for 40 years until his retirement, moving up from an associate to printing manager.

During this time Mr. Carter was living in Brooklyn in a house where he rented a room. He lived at this location until he was told to leave by the police as the owner of the house had not been paying the mortgage thus leaving Mr. Carter homeless.

For 2 years, Eli lived in Penn Station relying on his social security income (that was direct deposited to his card) to survive.

He only left Penn Station to get food, and never got on the trains or went to a city shelter as he had heard horror stories about men and women being abused and taken advantage of.

Eli kept all his important documents with him in a folder and never let it out of his sight. When he was approached by Urban Pathways outreach team about the Olivieri Drop-In Center he was naturally hesitant thinking the location was the same as a city shelter.

After 3 months of continuous outreach Mr. Carter finally agreed to go to The Olivieri Drop-In Center where he started working towards acquiring housing and stability.

 The Antonio Olivieri Drop-In Center 

The Antonio Olivieri Drop-In Center 

Since Eli had all his personal documents and information with him he was able to speed up the process of gaining housing faster than most at-risk and homeless individuals usually do.

Mr. Carter moved into Urban Pathways’ Safe Haven residence in Brooklyn a little over 2 years after losing his apartment. In early 2017, Mr. Carter moved into his own apartment in Harlem with the help of the staff at Urban Pathways. He never forgets how helpful the Safe Haven staff was and credits them for getting him stabilized and back on his feet.

 Hegeman Safe Haven In Brooklyn 

Hegeman Safe Haven In Brooklyn 

The staff at Hegeman was always there for me when I needed them. They helped me find my own apartment. They were so helpful in making sure I had everything I needed and that I found a studio apartment somewhere that was comfortable and that I was sure would work for me.”

Now, Eli lives comfortably in his studio apartment where he watches his grandchildren after school and continues to stay in touch with his 3 children who live in various parts of the city.

He also travels back to Florida where he still has family he keeps in touch with.

Eli has also become active in Urban Pathways Peer Advocacy headed by Nicole Bramstedt, Director of Policy at Urban Pathways.

When I was working and living in my room, I would always empathize with the homeless. I would give them any food or drink that I had, and I would even buy people food if they asked.

Once I became homeless, I saw so many things wrong with the systems in place to help at-risk and homeless men and women. Once I was able to stabilize in the Safe Haven, I joined Nicole’s advocacy group to help bring an increased awareness to the plight of the homeless, and to use my experience living in the street to help those who are where I used to be.

The advocacy group has been instrumental in giving me a voice to talk to community leaders, politicians, and other formerly homeless individuals. I feel like this is my calling now, when I encounter a homeless person I try and talk to them about my experience and the fact that I now have my own apartment.

I think continuing to spread the word about organizations like Urban Pathways can only help those who need it most.

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 New York Metropolitan area.  Urban Pathways serves more than 2,000 homeless individuals a year and provides transitional, extended stay and permanent housing to chronically homeless individuals. www.urbanpathways.org. Donate