January Nonprofit Spotlight

Pathways to Housing PA

As January is about new beginnings, we have selected Pathways to Housing PA (a nonprofit that helps people reclaim their lives and start over) for January’s Nonprofit Spotlight!

Who They Are:

Pathways to Housing PA empowers people with disabilities to improve their housing stability, achieve better health, and reclaim their lives. In 2008, the City of Philadelphia engaged Pathways to bring its evidence-based Housing First model to Philadelphia to help end chronic homelessness. Pathways currently houses 550 people in regular apartments across the community, with an unprecedented 85% housing retention rate for participants. These same participants would be considered not housing ready in other programs.

As an alternative to emergency shelter and transitional housing, Pathways’ Housing First model is simple: provide housing without preconditions, and then address underlying issues around mental health, substance use, medical care, and education to welcome people back into the community. Pathways believes that housing is a basic human right, and everyone deserves a place to call home.

Many Pathways participants have serious, chronic, and untreated medical issues that have been neglected for years and require significant healthcare coordination. Pathways’ Integrated Care Clinic was launched in 2016 to ensure our participants have access to a person-centered approach that emphasizes recovery, wellness, trauma-informed care, and the integration of physical and behavioral health care. Outcomes have improved up to 67% for hypertension, obesity, smoking, and diabetes for participants who are treated at the clinic.

In late 2014, Pathways opened the Philadelphia Furniture Bank as a centralized resource for furniture for human service organizations from across Philadelphia. Member agencies schedule appointments for clients who then choose their furniture to start fresh as they move out of homelessness. Each individual or family receives a full home’s worth of furniture, including brand new bedding. The Furniture Bank recently furnished its 3,000th home.

In fall 2019, Pathways launched Housing First University to disseminate its comprehensive and inclusive solution to ending homelessness beyond its community in Philadelphia, in hopes of reaching other cities and countries struggling with the same issues. Housing First University builds on the expertise gathered by professionals who use this model every day in their roles at Pathways to Housing PA. Pathways works with its clients to tailor solutions that are responsive to their unique needs across three service offerings: training, technical assistance, and consulting.

What kind of support does Pathways need the most right now?

There are many ways to support us! Our top need, of course, is monetary donations to help us to execute our mission. We couldn’t provide the high-quality care that we do to our 550 participants without the generosity of individuals and businesses like you that contribute to us year round.

We also regularly need items to refresh our emergency pantry for those in immediate need, household items that may not be within our participant’s budgets, and furniture to help turn houses into homes. You can donate pantry and household items by dropping them off at our main office or via Amazon Wishlist. Furniture can be dropped off at the Philadelphia Furniture Bank, or you can complete our request form if you require a pick up.

What is one thing you wish people knew about Pathways that they may not?

We work with folks who are no different than you and I, other than that they were born into different circumstances. Their childhoods weren’t the same, the challenges and struggles they’ve had over the years are different, and as a result they found themselves experiencing homelessness. Despite living unsheltered, they’re considered not housing ready at other programs. They’re folks who deserve a chance, and a place to call home. And we give them that chance with no questions asked. It’s that simple.

What is the most unique donation Pathways has received?

We received a check for $1.25 recently. While it may not seem like much, it honestly meant so much to us to know that someone understood that no matter how large or small their contribution may be, it’s going to help us to provide homes, restore health, and reclaim lives. We know that all donations, regardless of size, come from those who truly believe in our mission and share our vision of a world without homelessness, and it was heartwarming to see that check in the mail and know that we’ve got a strong supporter out there somewhere who believes in our impact.

For more information, feel free to visit their website: pathwaystohousingpa.org.