Participant Stories


Transitioning into housing is not an easy thing. It’s strange that it should be that way-it seems so simple: take a person without a home, and give them a home. Problem solved. But the reality is that human beings are creatures of process, and when our participants get into housing for the first time, things can be pretty tough for them.

Harry, 59, navigates the grocery store on his cane, picking out noodles, drinks and other items. He doesn’t make any choice quickly: He scrutinizes each item, looks at the nutritional listing and compares prices. Harry said making good choices is important to him, especially after living on the streets for decades. He defines being homeless as “deciding, making choices, right from wrong and how to find help.”

Harry is glad to have now made the choice to live in an apartment, supported by a team from Pathways to Housing PA.


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.


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.


Pathways Participant Anthony's first glance at his new look.

For someone struggling to survive without housing, small things like getting a haircut can be the last thing on one’s mind. But for participants at Pathways to Housing PA, a small gesture like a haircut can go a long way towards getting them on the road to recovery.

Participant sitting at a table


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