Scott speaking at a conference in 2018.  

My name is Scott McDonald, and Urban Pathways helped lay the foundation that changed my life.

A New York native, I grew up in the Bronx, graduated high school and worked full-time – holding a mid-management position while also getting married.

All the while I had underlying mental health issues: I suffered from depression, ADHD, alcoholism, and rage. In 1992 my mother was diagnosed with cancer; this accelerated the downfall of my mental health. After her death in 1995 and the continued deterioration of my mental health, my wife filed for divorce.

2008 was my rock bottom. The company I had worked for since high school was bought out, leaving me jobless and ultimately homeless. Being homeless and living on the streets left me overwhelmed by my situation and suicidal.

In 2016, while at a men’s shelter, my case manager told me about Urban Pathways and I was invited to look at an apartment in their scattered site program and meet with the Program Director. After interviewing, I was accepted into the program a month later.

Urban Pathways laid the groundwork that has accelerated my wellness and recovery. With the help of my case manager, I found a place to live and my first job since becoming homeless. Having a place to call my own has also helped me to reintegrate into the community.

After settling into my apartment, I became a Certified Peer Specialist for a nonprofit serving the at-risk and homeless. My responsibilities including speaking to clients and government officials about my experiences, while also lecturing and assisting individuals focusing on homeless and mental health services.


Since the last time we spoke to Scott, now works for the state mental health agency, where he is the Lead In-Patient Specialist. He continues to engage with clients and help them on a path to stability. Scott still lectures and speaks to client groups about his experience with homelessness, depression, and alcoholism. He also moved to a new apartment in Harlem where he likes to visit the park and read in his spare time.

I am so grateful to Urban Pathways for helping me get my life on track. Because of the help I received, I was able to find housing and find a job where I can connect with individuals whose shoes I was once in.

It makes me feel complete that I can help someone that can one day be stable and living independently, like I am.

Founded in 1975, Urban Pathways (UP) is a not-for-profit, social service and supportive housing organization serving homeless adults in the New York Metropolitan Area.

rban Pathways serves as the first point of contact for New Yorkers. We engage individuals “where they at” through our strong network of social services to help individuals move into housing and minimize the likelihood of ever returning to the streets.