Born in Augusta, Georgia and raised in the Bronx, John is the oldest of eight children.
After high school, John held various jobs including: caterer, grounds keeper and nursing assistant, among others. These jobs took John through East Coast states like Maryland, South Carolina, and Georgia during the 80s, 90s. He settling in New York in the early 2000s.
While living in Hunt’s Point, John’s building was condemned without warning following the landlord being convicted of drug charges.
John was never able to retrieve his belongings and was homeless for the next two years.
During this time John couch-surfed with family while falling into a deeper depression that he had been able to manage before becoming homeless. As his depression worsened, John’s drinking and drug use increased. Over the next two years, John migrated back through various East Coast states staying with family and friends.
In 2013 John entered a Bronx Works program and stayed there for two years fighting depression and drug and alcohol addiction until his supervisor suggested detox.
In 2015 John entered detox, and says those next 31 days were the best of his life. They led to him quitting drugs and alcohol for good.
After finishing detox, John came to Urban Pathways. During that time he enrolled in and graduated from the six-month Howie The Harp peer advocate program. John continues to be drug and alcohol free, living at an 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 on 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 2,500 homeless individuals a year and provides transitional, extended stay and permanent housing to chronically homeless individuals. www.urbanpathways.org. Donate