Ian is 31, born and raised in Scranton, Pennsylvania where he lived with his grandmother, mother and younger sister. He was introduced to heroin by his older half-brother and was soon addicted.

During this time, he became a father to three daughters while continuing to use heroin. His drug use caused him to leave the family home and move to New York in 2014, where drugs were easier to get.  For four years, he lived and panhandled on the streets of the Flatiron District – he didn’t want to be around his family.

His addiction resulted in three overdoses — in one particularly horrific week, he overdosed twice and almost died.  His addiction also resulted in multiple incarcerations. During his last stay in jail, he began a methadone treatment program and weaned himself off heroin. This treatment has helped him to stay clean and not return to drug use.

Though clean and sober for the first time in many years, Ian was still homeless; until one day he really listened to what an Urban Pathways’ outreach worker had to say to him. Ian felt that someone was finally paying attention and wanted to help him figure out how to help himself.  Shortly after this conversation, Ian entered Urban Pathways’ Travelers Safe Haven in midtown Manhattan, the first “home” he had had in four long years.

“When I entered Travelers, I was at a low point.” The staff at Urban Pathways helped Ian maintain his sobriety and complete the paperwork he needed to get an apartment. “The staff at Urban Pathways went above and beyond the call of their jobs to help me.”

Ian enrolled in Urban Pathways’ Career Development Program. This program works with clients to develop vocational skills and prepare them for employment.  As part of his coursework, Ian shadowed an Urban Pathways’ facilities technician and enjoyed the feeling of independence and purpose it gave him. He graduated the program in November of 2018 and worked at several part-time jobs until being hired as a full-time facilities technician at Urban Pathways’ Ivan Shapiro House in November of this year. He likes his job and enjoys helping people who have struggled as he did.

UPwards Graduation

Today, Ian is looking forward to moving into his own apartment this winter and finally reconnecting with his family in Scranton.

“I can finally get comfortable now that I have a full-time job and will be moving into my own apartment.  In 2018, I got clean, in 2019 I got a job, and in 2020 I can move into my own apartment and rebuild my relationship with my family, especially my daughters.”

Your support today will help Ian and people like Ian on their journey from the streets to housing.

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 3,700 homeless individuals a year and provides transitional, extended stay, and permanent housing to chronically homeless individuals.


By Urban Pathways on November 27, 2019