We believe that housing is a basic human right. Everyone deserves a place to call home – it’s that simple. Providing safe, affordable housing to people who have experienced chronic homelessness in Philadelphia is a team effort, from service coordinators to doctors to our housing and maintenance staff. Kat is just one of the more than 550 people our team supports who are living independently in their own homes across the city.
It's a big month for Kat: she just hit her two-year anniversary of being permanently housed with Pathways to Housing PA. This is a moment to celebrate and to recognize how much a life can change through Housing First. Kat left home at the age of 16 and struggled on and off with homelessness. Because Kat is transgender, she didn’t always have an easy time accessing services while experiencing homelessness. Although she has worked with a few different programs in Philadelphia, they didn't provide a sustainable and permanent solution for her.
Kat recalls the day that Pathways to Housing PA’s outreach manager reached out to find her a home. They wanted to show her an available apartment and introduce her to one of her team members; Elana picked her up and they went to visit the home together. Kat walked up the steps, walked into the apartment, paused, and told Elana, "This is gonna be mine.". She knew right away that this was it, that was the apartment, Kat's new home. Two years later she is still there and celebrating her two-year anniversary of being housed. Her team still checks in with her to make sure that Kat has everything she needs to be successful and to ensure that Kat remains stably housed.
As most of our participants, it was still a transition for Kat to exit homelessness and settle into her new home. The first night she stayed up all night and for the first 11 months, she slept in the living room while getting used to her new life. Kat shared that she finds being at home with her cat comforting and finally being in a place that is her own is just amazing. When she has the time she loves to watch television, connect with people over social media, cook meals, and play with her cats. She is so happy to be a part of Pathways to Housing PA.
We are proud to help people just like Kat to reclaim their lives on their own terms. But stepping through that door is just the beginning. With every home comes hours of life skills support, shopping assistance, financial management, and solving maintenance issues because we know that along with the joy of having a place to live comes the responsibility of a home. To provide someone a home – a roof, a table, a bed - for the first time in years or even decades is a privilege, but at Pathways, we also take on the responsibility of making sure each participant has all the supports they need to remain stably housed.