January 2021
A Message from the President & CEO
Dear Pathway Homes Supporters,

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to have great impact on our nation.  As a behavioral healthcare agency, we at Pathway Homes believe that if we all work together and follow the science, we can reach herd immunity and get through this pandemic. We remain focused on those we serve and trust our staff to provide the supportive communication and services that are so critically needed during the height of this pandemic. This is especially important currently as individuals with serious mental illnesses and other disabilities are some of the most vulnerable to COVID-19. Risk factors related to this virus, such as increased psychological stress, disruption of community services, changes in the environment, quarantine protocols, and isolation, play heavily on the stability of those we serve. 
Pathway Homes’ response and collective leadership have been critical to those we serve and to our staff throughout this pandemic. Homelessness and COVID-19 disproportionately impact black, indigenous, people of color (BIPOC), making it even more critical that accurate information and access to the vaccine are made available to those we serve, and to our frontline staff at high risk of exposure to the virus. We have proactively contacted senior health officials to secure appropriate resources for educating our staff and those we serve about the vaccine. Our public education initiatives have been crafted to target BIPOC communities, and our staff are prepared to share accurate and timely information and trusted community resources. 
We have also partnered with leading advocacy associations such as the Virginia Association of Community Based Providers (VACBP) and the Center for Nonprofit Advancement to advocate and provide education at the federal, state, and local levels. Pathways continues to be inspired and guided by our Consumer Advisory Council members who has been using their voices of lived experience and testimony to encourage greater consideration of taking the vaccine. Our Vaccine First campaign follows our belief that through education, not mandate, we will move toward a day when we are merely reflecting on the resilience of our community to overcome the pain of this virus. We know these challenges are not perennial. We know that collectively we will recover from this pandemic. 

During this pandemic, Pathway Homes’ work continues to be possible because of your continued support and recognition of the critical work that we do. On behalf of the board, leadership, and staff at Pathway Homes, thank you! It is during these critical times that your donations, volunteer hours and financial investment in our agency make all the difference. We wish health and abundance to each of you in the new year and look forward to partnering with you in the future. 
Sylisa Lambert-Woodard, EdD, LCSW, LSATP, MAC
 “Pathway Homes embodies the spirit of recovery: embracing an attitude of hope,
self-determination and partnering with each individual on their personal journey toward achieving self-fulfillment and realizing their dreams.
We fulfill our mission by making available to individuals with mental illness and
co-occurring disabilities a variety of non-time-limited, affordable housing,
and services to enable them to realize their individual potential.”
-      Pathway Homes Mission
In Their Own Words
by Tina Simms
I have been the President of Pathway Homes’ Consumer Advisory Council (CAC) for 3 years. The members of the CAC act as a liaison between consumers and Pathway Homes’ Management Team. Our role is to provide the consumer voice to the agency. It has been an amazing experience and I am honored to be the president of the CAC. 

The eight CAC members are like family to me. We meet monthly to discuss what is going on in the world and support our fellow consumers. We attend conferences at the Fairfax County Government Center such as the Wellness conference. We also help with signature Pathway events such as the Steps to Pathways informational sessions, Pathways Annual Breakfast, the resident picnic, and holiday parties. The highlight of my experience is our annual trip to Richmond where we educate state senators and delegates on homelessness, affordable housing, and mental health issues.   

When the pandemic hit in March 2020, the CAC met by phone. There were a lot of challenges and therefore less people showed up for the meeting. We could not see one another’s faces and it made it extremely hard to connect with each other.  This all changed in December, when we obtained iPads from a grant that Pathways received. Now, we see each other on Zoom and connect in a more meaningful way. It is less stressful having the iPads for our meetings. This year we will use the iPads to meet “virtually” with the state delegates and senators at the end of January.   

Since receiving the iPads, we have 100 percent participation. Currently, we have 8 members and we are looking for more people to join the CAC.  
Please see the flyer about joining the CAC, that was designed by CAC Treasurer, Sue Zywokarte. I love being part of the CAC and look forward to the day when we will be able to meet in person again! 

Our heartfelt thanks to Tina and the other members of the Pathway Homes Consumer Advisory Council for giving their time, and a voice to so many.  
Photo: Tina with Governor Ralph Northam on her 2020 Richmond Trip
2020 Game Changer Award – Dr. Sylisa Lambert-Woodard 
On December 1, 2020, Dr. Sylisa Lambert-Woodard, Pathway Homes President & CEO, received the Virginia Housing Alliance (VHA) 2020 Game Changer Award.  Award winners were recognized at the 33rd Annual Awards Luncheon during the VHA Star Wars-themed Virtual Housing Credit Conference. These annual awards are presented to individuals who have made a significant impact in the housing-services spectrum in Virginia. The “Game Changer” Award specifically recognizes Virginia’s housing leaders for “major breakthroughs or outstanding achievements in the homeless-services or affordable housing fields.” The VHA requires nominees to be “innovators, visionaries, influencers and/or doers. Nominees must have also led, launched, or achieved a major breakthrough or accomplished outstanding achievements in services, housing programs, development, research, finance, education, health, and/or advocacy.” 
Sylisa's vision of ending homelessness in our area is closely aligned with the Plans to End Homelessness in Fairfax, Prince William, and surrounding counties. She remains laser focused on maximizing efforts to best leverage both public and private partnerships towards ending homelessness in these communities. In addition to Neighborhood Stabilization Planning funds, she has successfully tapped into HUD Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), HOME Investment Partnership Program, Fairfax County Consolidated Community Funding Pool, Virginia Housing Trust Fund, Virginia Housing Development Authority, and other types of publicly funded acquisition dollars to expand affordable housing inventory in our region. Her ability to also develop strong alliances with private community partners in the interest of creating new affordable housing resulted in at least two privately donated units that were designated as permanent affordable housing for the population Pathway Homes serves.   
Sylisa’s efforts in developing new affordable housing has made a difference in decreasing the number of homeless individuals in Fairfax and Prince William counties. Her efforts have also directly contributed to opening the bottleneck created by individuals who need this type of housing, but do not qualify for HUD continuum of care units, or state-funded Permanant Supportive Housing (PSH) units because they do not meet the chronic homeless requirement. Her belief that housing is a right not a privilege is reflected in her tireless advocacy efforts in support of the development of affordable permanent housing to meet ongoing needs in our area. Her commitment to diversity and inclusion fuels her efforts in continually seeking out opportunities to fund acquisition of permanent affordable units in service of a highly vulnerable and disadvantaged population. These qualities and her success in moving the needle in that direction make her a game changer and a leader in the affordable housing field in Virginia.  
Congratulations and thank you Sylisa! We are so very proud of you, and we applaud your vison, creativity, persistence, and courage in making it possible for so many to access affordable permanent housing that would otherwise be out of their reach.   

Pathway Homes Receives Fairfax-Falls Church CSB 
Spirit of Excellence Partnership Award 
On November 12, 2020, Pathway Homes 
housing operations team was formally recognized by the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board (CSB) through its Spirit of Excellence Partnership Award. This award is given to non-CSB employees, volunteers, interns or teams whose performance and actions promote, reinforce, or exemplify the CSB’s vision, mission and values. To be considered for a CSB Spirit of Partnership Excellence Award, an individual or team must make a deliberate, obvious and valuable contribution through actions in one of the following areas: Leadership, Customer Service, Innovation, Stewardship, and Good Samaritan. 

The Pathway Homes housing operations team led by Dr. Eleanor Vincent, Chief Operating Officer, received the award in Innovation for successful transition of 63 Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) units from New Hope Housing over the course of 9 months. The units and accompanying housing and tenancy services are funded by the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, Office of Community Housing. In this high fidelity PSH design, Pathway Homes provides housing and tenancy supports and the CSB provides behavioral health services and other clinical supports that help individuals stay housed.  Pathway Homes shared this award with the CSB supportive community residential services team led by Mr. David Simmons, Service Director. The award was given in recognition of Pathway Homes’ collaborative and innovative approach in designing and successfully implementing a successful transition of all units and clients within established timelines. The CSB defines innovation related to this award as having: 

  • Developed non-traditional new ways to do business, 
  • Streamlined processes and systems, 
  • Developed creative ideas and solutions to problems. 

Pathway Homes is appreciative of the CSB’s recognition and continued partnership! 
Consumer Advisory Council Discusses Homelessness and Other Issues with our Elected Representatives
During Virginia Housing Alliance’s Virtual Lobby Week (January 25-29), the Pathway Homes’ Consumer Advisory Council (CAC) met with VA delegates and senators virtually to discuss important housing, mental health, and homelessness issues. 
Staying Connected during COVID-19
The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has left many individuals across the world feeling disconnected from loved ones, and society in general. This social isolation is increased for the individuals we serve, who are already at risk of increased psychological stress due to the pandemic. 
At Pathways, we have tapped into existing resources such as the Consumer Advisory Council (CAC), and have also come up with creative new ways to stay connected. The CAC has historically served as a vehicle for us to communicate with, and hear from residents on the needs, opinions, and stories of those we serve. The CAC usually meets monthly at the Pathways main office but with the pandemic, and in the interest of safety, they suspended meeting in person in April last year.  The CAC tried meeting via telephone conference as most of the members had little or no access to technological resources for video conferencing.  This proved to be challenging in many respects; as many of you know from teleworking, phone conferences with a large group of people can sometimes be a hectic endeavor. 

With money raised from our COVID-19 fundraising campaign, we were able to purchase iPads for consumers to use, including members of the CAC.  However, with little to no experience using iPads or video conferencing, would CAC members know how to use them?  There was no need to worry as our amazing volunteer, Robert St. Thomas, came to the rescue! 

Robert previously volunteered with us as an instructor in our Computer Training Center (CTC), which, prior to COVID-19, offered weekly classes to those we serve on how to use modern technology.  For some individuals, this was overwhelming as it was the first time that they used a computer or the Internet. Robert, who has a background working with computers, was patient and understanding, and established great relationships with students at the Pathways CTC.  Many students would ask for him by name and liked that he remembered issues they were having with technology and was also willing to listen to stories they had to share.  When the opportunity for a volunteer to set up iPads for our CAC was presented, Robert immediately came to mind. He accepted the task and was ready to lend us his information technology skills once more. Thanks to him, the iPads we provided to the CAC members were user-friendly, with essential applications already downloaded and ready to use. 

New iPads in hand, the Consumer Advisory Council members were once again able to meet face-to-face through video conferencing.  Being able to see each other after many months of COVID-imposed separation, was a great opportunity to reconnect and continue the Council’s work. All were excited and appreciative about the iPads and we were thrilled to be able to provide this valuable resource to them.  They are using the iPads to stay connected with each other and to participate in the Virginia Housing Alliance virtual housing week this month; meeting and engaging with legislators in Richmond from the safety of their homes.   

Pathway Homes is thankful to the CAC members and to all those who contribute to helping individuals stay physically distant but socially connected during these challenging times. 

Our Impact in 2020
Learn more about Pathways' impact in 2020 by reading
our Annual Stakeholder Report!
Happy Holidays!
When the winter months roll in, we host our Annual Holiday Card Contest where our creative consumers submit their art to be featured in our widely distributed Holiday Card as well as for a chance to win a cash prize!
Below are our winners for 2020!
1st Place: Vickie Wolfrey
2nd Place: Paula Weidmann
3rd Place: Sherril Crawford
Quilts for the Holidays!
Thank you Sarah Blank for these wonderful quilts you put together for those we serve.

Sarah participated in Suzy Quilts’ 2020 Sew Along For Charity and chose us to receive these beautiful quilts! Those we serve will love them during these winter months!
Save the Date!
Happy New Year!