Learning About Housing Policy Abroad

Director of Policy for Urban Pathways Nicole Bramstedt  

Director of Policy for Urban Pathways Nicole Bramstedt  

Nicole Bramstedt, Director of Policy at Urban Pathways took part in a unique exchange program this past April.

 The Transatlantic Practice Exchange is an opportunity for homeless staff in the U.K. and the U.S. to trade places in an effort to explore a practice and share it upon their return; this year Nicole was lucky enough to be chosen.

              Crisis UK, a homeless services organization. 

              Crisis UK, a homeless services organization. 

 Nicole spent 3 weeks working with Crisis, a 50-year old homeless organization with offices and services in England, Scotland, and Wales. Nicole’s goal was to learn what strategies Crisis uses to engage the private rental sector (PRS) to address homelessness.

 Crisis provides education, employment, housing and well-being services. Since 1997, Crisis has worked to make the (PRS) a viable housing option for the homeless. This is done by engaging the landlords, and understanding their concerns. Once the landlords concerns are heard, Crisis develops strategies to combat these issues starting pre, and during tenancy that benefit both the homeless and the landlord.

 The Tenancy Support Program begins with a housing induction to familiarize potential members with housing services. Crisis then explains the realities of the tight U.K. rental market, and the need to adjust housing expectations. Potential members then attend a Mini Renting Ready workshop that provides information on how to search for housing, the type of housing to search for, and the rent one can afford. After the workshop, members work with a housing coach and attend a “property searching club”.

 Tenancy support also aids members during tenancyby providing accredited Renting Readycourses including: housing rights, money management, and communications (tenant to tenant— tenant to landlord).

 This program enhances exit options, tenancy sustainment, and facilitates the transition to housing. According to staff at Crisis, landlords prefer tenancy support and have been more inclined to offer tenancy to individuals who have shown commitment to the program; sometimes even at lower rents.

 Landlords also prefer the consistent support by reputable providers that the tenancy program provides. Crisis engages landlords in advocacy; keeping them up to date on policy recommendations so that they are implemented, and homeless issues can be resolved.

 After her 3 week placement abroad, Nicole arrived back at Urban Pathways with the following feedback:

In the U.S. I think we need to think outside the box about addressing homelessness, all sectors should make efforts to work together. Crisis’ practices of tenancy training and engaging landlords in both housing and advocacy address the lack of information among the landlords, and the homeless.

My recommendations to improve sustaining tenancy and exit options are providing tenancy training in Shelters, Drop-In Centers, and Safe Havens. Utilizing matching programs for homeless individuals placed in shared permanent housing. Develop a housing pilot program for adults exiting transitional housing, and needing tenancy support. Finally engage landlords in homeless advocacy. “

These initiatives will aid in bridging the gap between the stakeholders, providers and the homeless.

We thank Nicole for taking part in the Transatlantic Practice Exchange and working with Crisis.

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 

Labor Day Barbecue at Cluster

Residents at Cluster House pose for a picture at their holiday barbecue 

Residents at Cluster House pose for a picture at their holiday barbecue 

This past Labor Day, Urban Pathways staff at Cluster House in New York City treated residents to a holiday barbecue!

This end of summer barbeque was the first of its kind at the Cluster House residence.

Staff served hamburgers, and hot dogs, as well as fried chicken, baked fish, string beans, potato salad, rice and beans, Cesar salad, and pound cake.

Residents came out in full force to enjoy the food, weather and their neighbors.  

I think this is great. I love that Urban Pathways does these events for their residents. It gets people out of their apartments and helps in making new friends.” –Jonathan

Residents at Cluster have a range of activities to take part in on a monthly basis such as: yoga, photography, and book clubs to name a few. Having a surprise barbecue proved to be the perfect ending to a summer in New York.

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

Congratulations to our Career Enhancement Graduates!

Our Career Enhancement Graduates with the Director of Employment 

Our Career Enhancement Graduates with the Director of Employment 

Urban Pathways’ vision is to provide homeless and at-risk New Yorkers with the housing, services, and support they need to be self-sufficient.

Many formerly homeless men and women who have established residency within Urban Pathways wish to enter, or reenter the workforce; these individuals face significant barriers to employment including: low educational levels, lack of marketable skills and prior substance abuse among other factors.

One of the programs Urban Pathways provides is the Safe Haven Employment Enhancement Program. This program is a 3 month training that prepares residents with the necessary skills needed to join the workforce and the community with confidence and independence.

Heading the class was our Director of Employment who prepared program participants for the workforce by assisting them in learning job skills, creating resumes, applying for specialized licenses and much more.

Participants receive on the job training at many of our sites, shadowing current Urban Pathways employees and learning valuable, translatable skills. Completion of this program allows clients to actively enter the job market continuing the process of stability and wellness.  

 

Graduating the program and receiving a certificate of completion is a very special moment for our clients.

I am happy I took advantage of the Career Enhancement program at Urban Pathways. I think I am now ready to go back to school for my certifications”– Fred Allen

With your help Urban Pathways provides at risk and homeless men and women with the support needed to overcome these obstacles and secure employment. We believe that all of our residents have something special to offer. Our job is to bring out that potential; turning it into performance and helping our clients accomplish their goals. 

 

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

Congratulations to our Dress for Success participants!

Our Dress for Success Participants and staff. 

Our Dress for Success Participants and staff. 

The Dress for Success event was created to empower chronically street homeless men and women with the tools needed to successfully reenter the work force with

The Dress for Success event was created to empower chronically street homeless men and women with the tools needed to successfully reenter the work force with confidence.

Case managers prepared program participants for housing interviews and employment opportunities by holding Money Management, Mock Interviews, Self-Empowerment and Wellness classes.

Program participants found a sense of confidence and dignity during the program as they learned the necessary skills to become independent and self-sufficient in the community.

All program participants in attendance received a grooming kit with toiletries, a bathrobe, and slippers among other items. All participants received a certification of completion.

Help us continue to provide #thewayhome to at-risk and homeless men and women.

Donate today. 

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