A woman sitting on a couch with long brown hair and a blue flannel. She is wearing oxygen tubes under her nose.

Meet Debbie

Debbie is one of those people you meet and instantly feel at ease with. She is kind, gentle, and exudes warmth when you speak with her. Originally from Burlington, Vermont, Debbie is a mother of two, a grandmother, and a true testament to the power of resilience.

In 2022, Debbie faced homelessness when she was evicted from her apartment. Struggling with alcohol and drug use, her living conditions at the time only exacerbated her challenges. Debbie spent a year in a shelter before moving to the North Star Motel, where she stayed for six months.

Debbie’s turning point came when she connected with the Pathways Housing First Program about seven months ago while still living at the motel. It was there that she met Ian, a Housing Coordinator for the Housing First program.

Debbie fondly recalls their first meeting, saying, “That first meeting I had with Ian; he made me feel very comfortable. He is very welcoming.” Ian immediately began searching for an apartment for Debbie. 

They found an apartment very quickly in this case. Debbie recalls, “After Ian sent me the photos of the apartment, I couldn’t believe it. I called him up and said, ‘Is this real? Is this for sure? I need to live somewhere.’ He called me back and said, ‘Debbie, it is a sure thing.’”

Debbie moved into her new apartment in January, and it already feels like home. With safe, secure housing, she now looks forward to maintaining her sobriety and strengthening her relationship with her children and grandchildren. “I can’t describe it. It is amazing. I have stayed sober this long, and I feel that I am deserving of it. Part of me doesn’t feel that I am. I am working on that feeling.” 

In October, Debbie celebrated her two-year anniversary of sobriety, emphasizing the importance of taking gradual steps in recovery. “It takes time for anyone in recovery to feel like they are worthy and take actions about staying sober. I am working the steps and meeting with my sponsor.” Debbie also looks forward to continuing her relationship with Pathways.

When asked what she would tell someone who doesn’t know about Pathways about us, she said, “I would tell someone, ‘Hold on. They will work with you. You guys open up opportunities and doors to be successful. I am a success story, I really believe I am.’”

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