Pathways Participants Lead Plenary at Housing First Partners Conference

Bill Maroon
standing ovation

Speaking before a packed housed of over 1000 people, Pathways participants Cliff and Kat, spoke on the opening Plenary Panel about their “lived expertise.”  A number of potential panelists were interviewed to participate on the panel but many backed out once they realized there would be over 1000 people in the audience. Cliff and Kat spoke with grace and confidence about their experiences and offered great suggestions for the attendees.

Cliff spoke about his decade long journey from living on the street to entering Pathways and getting his own apartment. He then surprised the crowd by explaining how he is now “paying it forward” by graduating from Pathways to be part of our alumni, thereby opening up a spot for another person to come off the street.

The panel was asked the question:
“What worked?”

Kat responded by saying:

“I just needed someone to walk along side of me as I figured myself out.”

It was a simple answer that created a roaring applause.
After the panel discussion, the audience was allowed to ask questions or contribute to the discussion. As a result of Cliff and Kat’s courage, other people in the crowd with “lived expertise,” who previously backed out of being on the panel, stepped to the mic and told part of their story.