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I’m standing in the middle of the Pathways to Housing PA (Pathways) common area, watching two men excitedly sharing stories, shaking hands and laughing. One is a Pathways participant who moments earlier was telling me how depressed and discouraged he was feeling. The other is my coworker, Ken Wilson, and there’s a reason his connection with this participant is so immediate and warm: he understands, in a way most of us never will, what the veteran in front of him has been through.

Pete posing with muscles
As you know, staying healthy, losing weight and getting enough exercise is one of life’s hardest challenges. Add to that a history of being homeless for 12 years, suffering from an undiagnosed, untreated mental illness, and staying healthy seems nearly impossible. But Pete Mollica refuses to let his past stop him from reaching his goals and bettering his life every day. We sat down to talk with Pete, now 52, about his new lifestyle.

To say that Joseph had a hard life would be an understatement. After living outside on the streets for 20 years, his struggles were many. Combine that with substance abuse challenges and having one of his legs amputated, he truly is a survivor. Despite hard times, he never gave up and, thanks to you, Joseph has a place to call home. After moving off the streets and into his apartment, we sat down to ask him about his journey.

 

How long were you homeless?

I was homeless for 20 years.

Life Skills group with Mr. Lee.

Once homeless, Pathways participants are now learning life skills that could lead to jobs unthinkable 5 years ago.

It’s just another spring day in Philadelphia, but something historic is happening at the Philadelphia Furniture Bank. A group of five Pathways participants are hard at work assembling, loading and delivering furniture for families in need. For many formerly homeless participants, this would have been unimaginable 5 years ago. Now they are learning skills that could lead to future success and financial independence.

Pathways Employees Kareema and Preston stand with clothing donated by Mary Ann
Mary Ann’s brother, Jerry, struggled with a mental illness that led him to many hard years of living on the streets. However, your support helped Jerry find housing and get back on his feet. Now Mary Ann is continuing her brother’s legacy and helping other participants regain a sense of dignity.

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