Life in the city can be a tough journey for many people. Johnathan was like others — an unstable childhood, a thirty-year history of heroin addiction, arrests and incarceration, homelessness and long stays in the City shelter system.

But Johnathan’s journey took an unexpected turn one day when he heard about Urban Pathways. He liked what he heard about the programs — housing, support for people who struggled with substance abuse, and job training. In 2015, he said goodbye to his cot in the shelter and hello to a studio apartment in the newly-renovated Westside Cluster House in upper Manhattan.

Johnathan loved his new home but wanted more independence. He knew he could do it if he found a job. The UPwards Employment Program helped him create his first resume and gave him practical guidance in how to look for and find a job. He shadowed an Urban Pathways’ maintenance employee as part of his job training and was happily surprised when he was offered a job on the maintenance staff at an Urban Pathways housing residence in the Bronx in 2016.

Johnathan’s journey became more enriching with each passing month. He paid his rent. He re-connected with his family. He enjoyed his sobriety. He relished going to movies or having his family over for a visit.

But, Johnathan still wanted more independence. His Case Manager knew of his dream and suggested he look into the new Moving On Initiative. Working with an Urban Pathways’ housing specialist, Johnathan learned what he needed to do to become truly independent. He searched for apartments, navigated the interview and leasing process, and was successful in finding a home of his own — close to work, close to family. Close to perfect.

In his new home, Johnathan says he has no real challenges, only joy in his new life. His job and his family keep him focused and busy. He thanks Urban Pathways for guiding him on his journey home.