For 40 years, the organization Urban Pathways has provided services and housing for homeless women and men who are mentally ill. Through donations, state and federal funding, an Upper West Side building called Cluster House underwent a $13 million renovation.
Now the building has 52 fully furnished studio apartments, computer labs and occupational workshops, a cafeteria, courtyard and a part-time psychiatrist on site to monitor and adjust the residents' medications.
Michele Bryant has bipolar disorder and suffers from depression. She is also a former crack addict who lived on the streets and in and out of shelters for years. But now her life has changed dramatically. She is living in a studio apartment with her own private kitchen and bathroom. She calls it her safe haven.
Ron Abad of Urban Pathways says that for residents, having a home of their own in a safe environment gives them dignity and self-worth -- and that helps them transition to the next step.
On average, these folks live here for two years before they're able to move out on their own and take care themselves.
John Burnett suffers from severe depression. He used to drink heavily. He says Urban Pathways lifted him up and opened doors for him. He says he got his independence back. And, he says, a new life.