Jennifer’s excitement is so pervasive, she can’t sleep! After all, she’s just “graduated” from her room in Pathlight HOME’s Safe Haven Program to her very own efficiency apartment in our Homes for New Beginnings Program. Though both are located at Maxwell Garden Apartments, her new home affords a more independent existence, a place to put her “stuff” and new dresser, room for a small couch, as well as the support of her case manager.

With a personal history she says is “tough to talk about,” Jennifer grew up in a financially comfortable family, having a “bunch of stuff,” and graduating high school in Ft. Lauderdale. Fast-forward to adulthood, she’s had a hard time keeping jobs over the years, has moved from place to place, lived in a shelter, and landed on the streets. She carried or stored her “stuff” in a variety of places, eventually losing it all. 

In March 2014, Jennifer was referred from the streets to our Safe Haven Program and hasn’t looked back since. She credits her Case Manager, Rotoya, and is grateful to the entire staff.

“They helped me in a lot of different ways…I was able to take care of my health; they made sure I took my meds. Now I’m okay and watch the clock (myself). I am able to relax and be at home…be safe.” She obtained disability benefits, enabling her to pay her modest expenses, is now free of alcohol and properly medicated for her bipolar disorder and other medical issues. 

Maintaining sobriety after years of drinking is no small feat! In addition to the 12-Step meetings she’s attended, Jennifer found a new passion to fill many of the hours she used to drink – knitting and learning to crochet. She’s taking classes at the Orange County Library downtown and proudly displays the certificates she’s earned.

In the midst of knitting an impressive blanket for her adult son in Atlanta, with the Falcons colors “red, white, black and silver sparkle,” Jennifer reveals another wonderful change in her life since coming into Pathlight HOME programs at Maxwell Garden. She’s repaired the relationships with her son and also her mother, who lives in a nearby county. “I’m close to my mom now. She’s been very supportive.” Jennifer knows it’s the result of ”being here, being sober, being clean.” 

“The past is the past! I feel welcome and appreciated here. Everyone is quiet and respectful,” she says about Maxwell Garden and her new abode. “This is permanent. I’m done moving. This is home!

Talk about a changed life!

 

Spring is the perfect time to splash a new coat of color on your home! And that’s exactly what nearly 100 volunteers, staff, and even residents did on April 28th for the formerly-homeless men and women who now live in Pathlight HOME’s Maxwell Terrace Apartments, at Colonial Drive and John Young Parkway. The 338-unit efficiency apartment complex is the first-of-its-kind permanent housing for homeless individuals in Central Florida, opening in 1996.

Working the entire day, in two shifts, our volunteer painters completed the exterior of the original, 75-unit building. The fresh adobe and blue tones now match those at our Maxwell Garden Apartments on Orange Blossom Trail. (And as donations and grants allow, we look forward to continuing the fresh paint to the rest of the property!)

The number of people who donated their time and talent really blew us away! University of Central Florida student groups, real estate and law groups, individuals who know us, and those who found us on VolunteerMatch THANK YOU!

This was no dull house painting exercise! Radio station 104.5 The Beat was there with their caring DJs, equipment, and tent, playing hip-hop and R & B from start to finish. What a sure way to create excitement for the project! Can you say singing and dancing while painting!?  

And what would we do without our other wonderful sponsors?? A delicious box lunch was catered by Sobik’s Subs at 4049 S. Orange Blossom Trail, Pathlight HOME’s own Social Enterprise partnership; and our t-shirts were underwritten by Storey Law Group. Other sponsors were Arcom Event Radios, Tewes Mortgage, Sherwin Williams of South OBT, Sam’s Club of W. Colonial Drive and Starbuck’s We Proudly Serve

From Pathlight HOME to your home, T H A N K  Y O U for helping us to change the lives of more than 600 formerly-homeless people each day! 

Suppose life hit you in the face and you found yourself living on $750 per month. Could you do it? Could you pay for the necessities, much less a few frills? How would you budget?

Disability Income Quiz

Take the Quiz:

  • Monthly Income = $750
  • Monthly Expenses:
    • Rent =
    • Medicine =
    • Medical Insurance =
    • Transportation =
    • Utilities =
    • Food =
    • Additional Expenses =
    • Total Monthly Expenses =
  • Amount Remaining = ??

In addition to having been homeless, Pathlight HOME’s Maxwell Terrace and Maxwell Garden Apartments residents have either no, extremely low, or low income and receive subsidy assistance with the payment of their rent.  The majority of chronically homeless individuals in our Restore and Safe Haven Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) Programs enter with no income. Case Managers help them file for benefits, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) - a type of disability benefit paid to qualifying individuals whose household income falls below a certain level. Once they receive income, these clients pay 30% of their income for rent.

The monthly maximum Federal SSI benefit for an eligible individual is $750.  

Residents of our Homes for New Beginnings PSH Program are required to have income upon entry. Again, these disabled individuals receive some form of Social Security Disability Income and must pay 30% for rent. The rest of our more-than-600-residents don’t fare much better than their case-managed neighbors, or they would not qualify to rent our affordable, efficiency units.  

Could YOU survive?

 

The Sobik’s Subs location at 4049 S. Orange Blossom Trail, in front of Maxwell Garden Apartments, offers up an extra-special ingredient to go with its fresh sandwiches and salads! 

This location is actually a Social Enterprise partnership of Sobik’s Subs and Pathlight HOME, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that changes the lives of homeless and low-income men and women through affordable housing and economic opportunities.

Sobik's Subs Social Enterprise

As a Social Enterprise, the unique café provides training and employment opportunities to formerly homeless and low-income students in the Pathlight KITCHEN Culinary Training Program, right along with delicious breakfast and lunch items, catering, an event room and free Wi-Fi. 

Thanks to an added partnership with Starbucks “We Proudly Serve,” you can also enjoy Starbuck’s delicious coffees and teas.

This real-world food and customer service experience for enterprising culinary students, a Manager who really “knows her culinary stuff,” and profits that go directly into Pathlight HOME’s housing, training, and employment programs make ordering from Sobik’s Subs of Orange Blossom Trail a great way to “give back.”  

Sobik's Subs Social Enterprise

Give us a try, Monday – Friday from 9:00 AM – 4:30 PM. Call 407-447-3060 x 121, contact Uber Eats or visit in person, whether you want a meal for one or catering for a group! 

 

Pathlight Kitchen’s new chef, Esteban Torres, is infusing new energy and talent into Pathlight Kitchen’s Culinary Training Program. A Culinary Institute of America-trained professional, Chef Esteban and his staff are readying novel materials and additional hands-on food service exercises for students in the classes beginning April 2, 2018

Pathlight Kitchen’s new chef, Esteban Torres, is infusing new energy and talent into Pathlight Kitchen’s Culinary Training Program. A Culinary Institute of America-trained professional, Chef Esteban and his staff are readying novel materials and additional hands-on food service exercises for students in the classes beginning April 2, 2018.

This ninth session of our FREE Culinary Training Program for low-income Central Floridians is sure to be the best yet! And since the area’s food service industry needs properly-trained staff, this means marketable skills and employment potential!! 

In fact, Chef Esteban has established two programs! There’s a 12-week comprehensive culinary skills course, with ServSafe Manager Certification; AND a 16-hour Dining Room and Table Service Skills Program. Students can take one course or both.  

The 12-week course runs from April 2 to June 22. Classes are Monday through Thursday, from 9:00 AM to 3:30 PM each day. In addition to culinary training and certification, students learn self-empowerment and employment skills. For information, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 407-978-5521, M-F from 9:30 AM to 2:30 PM. 

The 16-hour Dining Room and Table Service Skills Program runs Fridays in April- April 6, 13, 20 and 27 from 12:30 pm to 4:30 pm each day. Students learn and practice the skills required for Front of the House operations, professional dining and beverage service. For information, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 407-294-0123 ext. 129. 

Both courses are held in our modern 13,000 square foot Pathlight Kitchen building, renovated in 2013 through a partnership with Orange County government. 

Our Culinary Training Programs serve a population challenged by barriers to employment. If YOU know anyone who would benefit from these FREE programs, please send them our way! We use an open enrollment model and our classes are small and offer individual coaching. 

Prospective students should apply in person by March 30 at Maxwell Terrace Apartments, 3200 West Colonial Drive, Orlando 32808. 


Pathlight Kitchen courses are funded in part by the City of Orlando, Orange County, and the Wells Fargo Foundation. Pathlight Kitchen does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation.