Client Feature

Client Success Story Update: Johnathan Gilmore

Johnathan had a tough childhood.

At age 15, his mother was killed in a car accident, 2 days before Christmas.

After his older sister took him in, Johnathan had behavioral problems in school that led to him dropping out in the 10th grade and enrolling in Job Corps.

While in Job Corps, Johnathan learned vocational and custodial skills, but he began using heroin and became a functional addict. His addiction led to him being part of an armed robbery, for which he served 6 years in jail.

While in prison, Johnathan gained more custodial experience and completed certifications in Building Super and Building and Custodial Maintenance.

Upon his release, he got married and had children. Unfortunately, his heroin addiction resurfaced and eventually led to his divorce.

After his divorce, Johnathan couch-surfed with friends and family and slept in shelters for 6 years while frequenting methadone clinics to manage his heroin addiction.

Johnathan got involved with advocacy while in the shelter system which allowed him to become a client representative with Volunteers of America. That opportunity, and Johnathan’s need for housing, led to him being referred to Urban Pathways.

In 2015, Johnathan was one of the first clients to be placed at Urban Pathways’ newly renovated Cluster House on the Upper West Side.

In 2016, he joined the UPwards Employment Program, graduated, and has been working in maintenance at Urban Pathways for over 2 years.

This summer, Johnathan was part of the Moving On Initiative which allowed him to move from Cluster House to his own apartment.

Johnathan is doing great, settling in and continuing to work as much as he can. He just purchased a kitchen set, and bedroom furniture.

I have no challenges, only joys. I love my new apartment. I just bought a new bed set, kitchen set, and microwave. I work as much as I can to stay busy and it keeps me focused and on the right track.” – Johnathan Gilmore

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 2,500 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

My Name is Robert and Urban Pathways gave me a Second Chance

Growing up in the 1970's in the South Bronx was very difficult. The area was home to some of the most crime-ridden, drug infested neighborhoods in the city.

Seeing this poverty and sadness as a child on a daily basis contributed to my extreme sensitivity and depression. 

At the age of 13 I was placed on Prozac and eventually hospitalized as a result of a suicide attempt. For the next several years I was in and out of various hospitals finally being diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

1970 "Fifth Ave at 110th Street, East Harlem." IMAGE: CAMILO JOSÉ VERGARA/LIBRARY OF CONGRESS

1970 "Fifth Ave at 110th Street, East Harlem." IMAGE: CAMILO JOSÉ VERGARA/LIBRARY OF CONGRESS


My mother and I were very close due to the fact that she raised me as a single parent. She, like me was very sensitive and empathetic to her everyday surroundings. In 2009 my mother was diagnosed with lymphoma, for the next two years I took care of her full time until her death in 2011. 

After my mother’s death I became homeless. I had no job due to my illness and when I did have jobs, I couldn't keep them. I couldn't pay the rent and bills so I left and started sleeping on friends and family members couches.

Though I never was street homeless, living between friends and family was very difficult. I had no personal space and I couldn't get comfortable as I didn't know where I was going to sleep most nights until the last minute. 

During this time I was once again hospitalized for depression; I met with a social worker that knew I had housing problems; this was when I was first introduced to Urban Pathways. I interviewed and was accepted in 2014. 

Now with the help of Urban Pathways I live in my own apartment in Hughes House, one of their 14 supportive housing sites. Since gaining housing, I have completed my training to become a peer support specialist and I am working to attain my Bachelors of Social Work.

Through my experiences, I have met countless people who have helped and inspired me to keep going; I want to do the same for others. 

Urban Pathways is doing God’s work, they have provided me and countless others with a roof over our heads, keys in our hands and the opportunity to help others as well as myself. I can't thank them enough. Donate today and help more homeless and at-risk New Yorkers "Find The Way Home". 

 

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