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

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

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.