Our Stories

Terry

Terry

Terry has a quiet confidence and a smile that draws you in. He speaks proudly of his lifelong residence in DC, his service in the Marine Corps, and his wife, 3 children, and 7 grandchildren. Terry is an overwhelmingly positive person, in a world where optimism is all...

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Joel

Joel

Each morning, thousands of people fill the sidewalks of Downtown DC, moving toward destinations as varied as their own individual lives. Up until recently, looking through the crowds, one could catch a glimpse of a cardboard sign just to the side of the doorway of a...

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David

David

David was homeless in and around Bethesda for almost 30 years, living in the woods for most of that time.Constantly on the move, David survived by panhandling, dumpster diving, and selling scrap metal. For the last 5 years, David had called a small patch of trees...

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Lakeisha

Lakeisha

Patrick, a Pathways to Housing DC outreach worker, first met Lakeisha underneath the L Street bridge.  Immediately, Patrick was struck by her warmth and charisma. A self-described homeless advocate, Lakeisha was widely known and respected by her neighbors and friends...

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Thomas

Thomas

There are so many people who are one paycheck away from being homeless. My name is Thomas, and for most of my life, I was one of those people. No matter how hard I worked, I always struggled to pull myself out of the financial trouble I was in. My paychecks were never...

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Robert

Robert

As a child growing up in North Carolina, I never imagined I’d end up homeless in Washington D.C.  My name is Robert and I grew up with a wonderful and supportive family.  My parents took care of me and my two brothers and three sisters.  We were doing well until my...

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George

George

George is a gentleman in his late-50s with bright blue eyes and the sweetest grin.  He dresses impeccably well, and is typically very quiet.  However, it’s never a secret when George is  passionate about something because quite suddenly his blue eyes light up and he...

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Gloria

Gloria

*Featured in the Spring 2017 Newsletter Gloria still remembers the day her little boy, who wasn’t so little anymore, came running back into her life out of seemingly nowhere.  “MOM! This is where you’ve been all this time!? Everybody’s been looking for you!” Tears...

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Ricky

Ricky

A Flicker of Light Hope has the power to change lives.  For Ricky, it was always there.  He just needed someone to show him where to look. The Downtown Business Improvement District (DBID) Outreach team started working with Ricky in the spring of 2014.  He had just...

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Manny

Manny

The Journey Home Ariel, a Pathways to Housing DC Homeless Outreach Specialist, met Manny at Union Station after an introduction by Amtrak Police officers, who had taken an interest in getting to know the soft-spoken man. Manny is a thin man in his mid-40’s, impeccably...

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Anne

Anne

Finding Anne Anne loves big wigs and colorful makeup to match her larger than life personality. She enjoys arts and crafts, making new friends, and is in charge of her mental health. Though she’s in an incredible place today, just over a year ago, Anne was homeless...

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Mary

Mary

How Pathways DC “Guided” Mary Home Mary was born in DC General Hospital on a rainy Wednesday morning. She spent a large portion of her life living on the streets of DC as a result of a tumultuous childhood. At an early age, Mary lost her mother and was...

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Stephen

Stephen

A Place in the World Stephen moved to DC from Alabama 5 years ago when his mother passed away. At the time, Stephen was still recovering from the death of his older brother. He had always relied on his mother and brother for support and guidance; losing both of them...

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John

John

A Soldier’s Courage John is a Vietnam Veteran who suffers from Agent Orange symptoms from his time serving as an Air Force pilot. Back then, no one knew about the herbicide’s devastating consequences, and as a result of John’s exposure to it, he has since...

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James

James

When Caitlin, an Outreach Specialist on the Coordinated Entry team, met James in the winter of 2015, she was moved by his kind, good natured disposition. Originally from North, South Carolina, James never disclosed intimate details of his childhood and only mentioned...

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William

William

My name is William and I’ve always had a love of photography. Although I attended Howard University for Communications, I left to pursue photography full time in the 80s and, for a while, I made a living doing what I loved. Unfortunately, times changed, and I...

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Robert

Robert

Before coming to Pathways to Housing DC, Robert had spent the majority of his adult life on the streets of the Downtown Business Improvement District (BID), struggling with substance abuse, untreated mental health symptoms, and debilitating physical ailments. At the...

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Stanley

Stanley

Stanley can only take either the first or last train on the metro and he must always sit facing forward. While he struggles to comprehend maps, he remembers landmarks with accurate detail. He is comfortable walking on only one side of the street, and must wash his...

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Malcolm

Malcolm

A New Name for a New Life It took months for “Ice” to tell Hunter his real name. When he first appeared in the Golden Triangle, Ice attracted a lot of attention because he slept in the middle of the sidewalk, regardless of the weather conditions. Shielding himself...

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Victor

Victor

Before Victor came to Pathways to Housing DC, he had experienced over a decade of homelessness. His days were spent in survival mode, trekking around Washington, DC with his cumbersome bag of possessions, looking to fulfill his most basic needs for food, clothing, and...

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Anthony

Anthony

Anthony has always believed in three things: the dignity of work, the power of education, and always having a back-up plan. “I dropped out of school in the 10th grade, but went back and got my GED because you always need something to fall back on,” he said. He began...

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Andrew

Andrew

Andrew, a Vietnam War veteran, lived on park benches throughout Washington, DC for over 40 years. After five years of valiant military service, Andrew returned home bearing invisible scars that caused him so much mental anguish that he was unable to work, and...

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Eric

Eric

Hunter, a member of the Pathways to Housing DC Golden Triangle Homeless Street Outreach team, first met Eric on the steps of St. Matthew’s Cathedral while he was panhandling for change. Eric is a tall, solidly built, 53 year old man with short hair and a charming...

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Selena

Selena

Selena was born and raised in Washington, DC. She grew up with two brothers and three sisters, all known for being the prettiest girls on the block. Selena had a normal childhood, but that soon began to change as the symptoms of her mental illness emerged. Despite...

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Bill

Bill

His eyes were yellow, his head hunched low, and his pants hung down around his knees as he shuffled along K Street, NW. Bill was a familiar face in downtown DC and after cycling through homelessness, jail, and treatment programs for more than two decades, Bill had...

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Vincent

Vincent

It took a long time for the social services system in DC to take notice of Vincent. Quiet, easy-going, and always chuckling at his own jokes, Vincent was a master at hiding his mental illness and other health concerns. Born and raised in DC, he was written off by most...

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Tyler

Tyler

Tyler, a native Washingtonian, had been living on the streets of Washington, DC for more than four years when we first met him. While he was in his thirties, he looked much older as he walked with his head hung low. He seemed to have a permanent frown on his face....

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Ricky

Ricky

Recently, our partners at Miriam’s Kitchen, in conjunction with The Advisory Board Company, released a study which proves just how expensive chronic homelessness is in the District. This story illustrates the importance of Housing First, collaboration between housing...

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Mary

Mary

Mary is a 66 year-old petite woman with an infectious spirit and warm smile. After spending 33 years working for the federal government, she took her pension and retired to Southeast, DC. However, her comfortable retirement was short lived. Compounding health concerns...

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Deshawn

Deshawn

Deshawn came to Pathways to Housing DC as a survivor of childhood trauma who was struggling to meet his basic needs on a daily basis. He had spent more than two decades homeless, traveling across the country from Berkeley, CA to New York City, trying to find work and...

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Chris

Chris

Six weeks ago, Chris moved off the streets and into his very own apartment. For the first time in his adult life, he hosted Thanksgiving in his new home, cooking everything from turkey to mashed potatoes and collard greens for his friends and family. Now, as Chris...

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Nicolas

Nicolas

Nicolas, a loud and stocky man in his early 50s, had been a familiar face in Farragut Square for more than eighteen years. His often aggressive behavior, coupled with the complicated social service system, had made it difficult for him to access services and get off...

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Gerard

Gerard

Gerard is an Army veteran who served his country honorably in a stateside military hospital during the Vietnam War. After completing his years of service, and as a result of his undiagnosed and untreated paranoid schizophrenia, Gerard found himself caught up in the...

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Russell

Russell

Russell grew up in Southeast DC before becoming homeless more than three decades ago. Struggling with schizophrenia, Russell was in and out of jail and the hospital. He spent the last ten years sleeping on a park bench downtown. This fall, with the help of his...

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Randall

Randall

Randall first connected with Pathways to Housing DC through our Homeless Street Outreach Team in the fall of 2012 while panhandling outside a local coffee shop near DuPont Circle. We came to know him as a mild-mannered and introverted 48-year-old who rarely asked for...

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Bo

Bo

Before connecting with Pathways to Housing DC, Bo had spent more than four and a half years living on a park bench in downtown Washington, D.C. Born and raised in Laos, Bo was forced to flee his home country in the 1970s because of warfare and violence. He spent...

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Pathways Brought Me Home

Mary, a Pathways client, was born in DC and dealt with sexual abuse from an uncle throughout her childhood and domestic violence from partners in her 20's. She used alcohol and marijuana to numb the pain of a lifetime of abuse and trauma. Mary was introduced to Pathways DC through a domestic violence shelter, and Pathways staff diagnosed Mary with HIV and bipolar disorder. The vulnerability of her situation allowed Mary’s team to quickly secure a housing voucher and within weeks they helped move Mary into her very own apartment. Mary told us, “I can honestly say that it was not until I received my keys that I felt true happiness. I would not have succeeded without the help of my “guiders,” (Mary’s term for her team at Pathways DC) because they always kept me on the right path and never gave up on me.” Today, with the help of her Pathways team, she has stability and is on the journey to recovery. 

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