Andrea “found her way home” through Urban Pathways. Committed to a juvenile facility by her widowed father, Andrea experienced both homelessness and incarceration, along with addiction and mental illness. For more than two decades, the only constant in her life was a desire to write, to give voice to her emotions through poetry and prose. This desire kept Andrea going through years of despair, of sleeping on couches and apartment floors, of riding the subways at night when no friend would or could provide her with a place to sleep.

A friend did, however, tell her about an organization that might be able to help Andrea. The next day, Andrea made a telephone call and spoke to a housing specialist at Urban Pathways, who said she was eligible to apply for housing. Andrea felt hope – the first hope she had felt in decades. Early in 2017, Andrea moved into a brand-new, fully-furnished apartment at Urban Pathways’ 162nd Street Residence.

Andrea holding a donated picture frame that now hangs in her apartment.

Andrea holding a donated picture frame that now hangs in her apartment.

Today, Andrea says that she has finally come home. She embraces each day with joy and looks forward to what it will bring. While she lives quietly, she is nonetheless a well-known presence at the residence, participating in client activities and advocating for neighbors who need help. She appreciates her new life and keeps her apartment spotless – winning an “Best Apartment” award a few months ago. Her green thumb is famous among residents and staff alike, and plants which she has nurtured grace her apartment as well common areas throughout the building. She is working with an Employment Specialist at Urban Pathways to update her resume so that she can find employment.

Best of all, Andrea sets aside time each day to write. In poetry, Andrea can express her true feelings, recently writing:

Our voices have powerful meanings, if spoken

With pure justice and concern and love…

Our voices were made to be heard, whenever our

Mouths open to speak.

As Andrea’s story shows, Urban Pathways does more than provide housing for an individual. It provides a nurturing and supportive environment for each individual to grow and use their strengths to create a life with joys, good things and hope in what the future will bring.