Edwin was born and raised on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. After being street homeless for most of his adult life, in 2018 Edwin moved into an Urban Pathways’ supportive housing apartment at Cluster House in Manhattan. Before the coronavirus pandemic, Edwin was very outgoing and social. He could usually be found in the community room, at on-site events, or outside talking with neighbors.

In April, Edwin contracted COVID-19. He was rushed to the hospital, where he spent a week. After being released, Edwin quarantined at home in his apartment at Cluster House. During his quarantine period, Urban Pathways’ staff donned Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and checked on him twice a day to make sure he was taking his medication and that he had enough food. Edwin’s neighbors helped by leaving food and supplies by his door. No other client or staff member at Cluster House contracted the virus.

“Everyone, from the staff to my neighbors, helped me recover from COVID-19. I can’t thank them enough,” Edwin says.

Although he recovered, Edwin continues to suffer aftereffects of the virus. He now requires a walker or a cane to get around and struggles daily with balance and mobility issues.

Edwin also struggles with a lack of connection. The lack of Wi-Fi access at Cluster House and his limited computer knowledge have left him feeling anxious and isolated during this pandemic. “I feel very caged, I do not have a computer or good computer skills, so I feel isolated and anxious because I don’t know what’s going on in the world.”

Despite his mobility issues, Edwin takes daily walks, and he goes food shopping once a month with neighbors who assist him. Edwin sums up his current situation: “When I go outside to see my friends, no one is usually out. Everyone is inside and scared to come out. It makes me sad and I cannot wait for when this is over so my friends and family can come visit me again.”

Having Wi-Fi and computer access for clients like Edwin is crucial, especially during a global pandemic. Many clients keep in touch with family and friends via social media and through video calls. Wi-Fi and computer access also allow clients to keep up with medical and personal appointments

Your support this #givingtuesday will help us continue to keep vulnerable New Yorkers like Edwin safe during the pandemic by providing PPE and materials to keep them safe and the technology they now need to access services that help them remain independent and thrive in their communities.


By Urban Pathways on November 25, 2020