“I learned about Urban Pathways in 1982 when I was dating a woman who worked at the Urban Pathways’ Travelers Safe Haven an at the time, Travelers only admitted women and many of the clients were victims of domestic violence. My girlfriend asked me to start coming to Travelers to speak to the women since men rarely volunteered at the site and it would be nice for the clients to speak to a male in a safe environment.”

“By 1986 I had already started donating hotel toiletries through my company Envirosell, and I had been spending a lot of time at Travelers and the Drop-in Center. Since begining volunteering in 1982, I had formed friendships with clients at the sites, and I always looked forward to our conversations because we would learn so much about each other.”

Throughout the years, Paco has remained a supporter of Urban Pathways. In 2010, he began leading quarterly three-site tours for colleagues and friends to introduce them to Urban Pathways’ continuum of services. The tours highlighted the Drop-in Center, Travelers Safe Haven, and the Ivan Shapiro House supportive-housing residence.

“I wanted to do more for the people at Urban Pathways. I wanted to get students and my peers involved, giving them a first-hand experience where they see the work being done to support and serve New York’s homeless.”

Since 2016, Paco has led the three-site tours on a monthly basis, with many of his peers becoming supporters of Urban Pathways. “In 2016, I started doing monthly tours as many of my peers recognized the issue of homelessness but did not know where to give their support. The tours have been helpful in that many of my peers who attended a tour have gone on to partner with or support Urban Pathways.

“Since the outbreak of COVID-19, I think it’s more important than ever that we support organizations like Urban Pathways that are on the front lines serving vulnerable populations. The communities of people who are living in poverty or who are homeless are the hardest hit during times of crisis. It’s the essential work of the staff that keep clients healthy and safe and moving on toward independence.”

Paco Underhill is the CEO of Envirosell, an Educator, an a New York Times Best-Selling Author.

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.