OP Annual Report 2019: How You Live Matters

Fiscal Year 2019 Annual Report How You Live Matters

Celebrating Volunteers: Creating Vibrant Communities

Richard F. Burns

Kenneth D. White

OPERATION PATHWAYS is happy to present our 2019 Annual Report highlighting the ways that residents increase the quality of life in our communities. Operation Pathways assigns an on-site resident services coordinator (RSC) to all properties where we offer resident services. The RSC serves as a case manager, program manager, partnership manager, marketing manager, event planner, and coach. When residents volunteer their time, RSCs can best meet the needs of an entire apartment community. Operation Pathways’ annual goals are only achieved when residents take leadership roles in our programs and services. For that reason, we celebrate and thank resident volunteers in this report. Volunteering is a Win-Win Resident leaders tell us that they love to be active and give back to their own communities, doing work for others, and receiving great benefits in return. Studies have shown that people who are active volunteers in their communities learn new skills, advance their careers, and even improve their mental and physical health. Operation Pathways residents volunteered more than 4,500 hours working alongside staff and volunteers from businesses within the community. These side-by-side volunteer opportunities bring services to the greater community and allow residents to create relationships with potential mentors and employers. Resident Volunteers on the Pathway to Financial Stability Volunteering can lead to increased self-confidence and self-efficacy. Completing assigned tasks provides a feeling of accomplishment enabling the volunteer to better achieve goals. This self-efficacy is an important measurement for employability and career advancement. Operation Pathways’ programs also create opportunities for resident volunteers to make social and professional connections that can improve employment prospects. A job seeker is more likely to gain

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“Good exercise for the heart: reach out and help your neighbor.” —Mark Twain

meaningful employment through a personal contact than any other job-seeking tactic. Lastly, resident volunteers are learning soft skills, such as improving verbal and written communication, and more professional skills gleaned from participating in crisis counseling or marketing. These volunteer experiences enhance resident resumes. Resident Volunteers on the Pathway to Healthier Living When people volunteer to help and work with others, that social contact has a profound effect on mental health and has even been shown to combat depression. Nothing relieves stress and anxiety better than having a meaningful connection with another person. Also, regular volunteers develop stronger relationships that develop into support systems. These associations are critical to good mental health and happiness including as conduits to meaningful employment. Studies have found that volunteers have better physical health as well. Correlations have been made between those who volunteer and decreased chronic pain and reduced risk of heart disease. People with hypertension are more likely to decrease blood pressure by being active in their communities. Operation Pathways is happy to create these volunteer opportunities to help keep our communities living longer and healthier. Resident Volunteers on the Pathway to Aging in Place Our communities’ older adults make some of the best resident volunteers! Older adults find a sense of purpose, new meaning, and direction in their lives by helping others. Social isolation is said to heighten health risks as much as smoking 15 cigarettes a day! Many older adults living independently in our affordable housing communities do not have regular visitors and suffer from loneliness. Giving older adults opportunities to feel needed and to contribute to the community is an essential function of our resident services programming. Everyone wins when a solid volunteer initiative is fully integrated into a resident services program. This resident engagement makes communities stronger, safer, happier, healthier, and more vibrant. We are so proud of the rich programs and services that Operation Pathways is able to offer and of the relationships residents create with the financial and in-kind service providers at our portfolio of properties, but we can’t take all the credit. We would not be half as successful without the contributions of wonderful resident leaders.

Richard F. Burns

Kenneth D. White


Executive Director & Chief Operating Officer,

Operation Pathways, Inc.

Operation Pathways, Inc.

Operation Pathways, Inc. | Fiscal Year 2019 Annual Report 3

George Banks The Mark Twain, Chicago, IL

GEORGE BANKS has had his share of challenges in life. From a rough foster home upbringing, to living with undiagnosed mental illness and the uncertainty of where a next meal might come from, George has remained resilient and has overcome every challenge thrown his way. During the most tumultuous times George was able to rely on two constants in his life, his music (George is an accomplished guitarist and singer) and his home, The Mark Twain. George has lived at The Mark Twain in Chicago, Illinois for fifteen years. Even while experiencing mental health crises, he always knew he had a place to sleep

at night and a friendly community of neighbors he knew well. When the Resident Services Coordinator began working at The Mark Twain, George came to her for help paying off his credit cards. Together, they came up with a budget for George to follow to slowly pay off this debt. Even when George did not meet his budget goals one month, the RSC supported him and George didn’t give up. In the end, George was able to pay off his cards and learn new budgeting strategies in order to prevent him from going into debt again. Since then, George has become a regular attendee at every workshop and coffee chat the RSC has hosted. Once The Mark Twain renovation was complete, George was overjoyed and relieved to move back after being away for one year and he loves his newly renovated unit. In the photo, George is seen taking part in the Ribbon Cutting event, welcoming residents back to the beautifully restored property. He was honored to have been asked to speak and his words of praise for his home were from the heart. Recently, George was feeling distressed because his normal therapist was on vacation and he could not see her. He went to speak to the RSC about his anxieties and together they figured out a plan to help him address them. The Mark Twain has been a constant in George’s life, through the good times and the bad. Now the onsite resident services provided by Operation Pathways are a constant as well, one that allows George to regularly access the support he needs to be able to thrive.

Where George lives matters.

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Starlet & Her Family Forest Park, New Orleans, LA

STARLET AND HER THREE CHILDREN live at Forest Park in New Orleans, Louisiana. Two of her children attend Forest Park’s summer camps and Starlet often volunteers during community events. She reached out to her RSC Tiffany in March because she was frustrated with difficulties receiving SNAP benefits. Using Family-Centered coaching skills including asking powerful questions and reflective listening during a conversation, Tiffany worked with Starlet to complete her online SNAP application and receive the benefits due to her and her family. Soon Starlet was approved for $107 in benefits which seemed

low for her household. By working together the two discovered that Starlet’s rent had gone up by $25, starting in April and she had not accounted for that or her car payment when filling out the application. Tiffany then encouraged Starlet to advocate for her family and call DCFS and see if there was anything she could do. The DCFS agent recommended she make changes on her application and noted in the system they would re-assess soon. Starlet and Tiffany worked as a team to update her application and she received notification shortly thereafter that her SNAP benefits increased to $386 for her family. Starlet is working to reach her financial stability goal, and is encouraged that she has met her urgent financial need of acquiring food and stable housing for her family. Since this goal has been met, Tiffany texted Starlet a Monthly Budget sheet for her to work from on her own. Tiffany and Starlet are now engaging in weekly financial coaching check-ins, to continue her financial stability journey. Starlet is always on time and pays her full rent amount monthly, so this month’s dip into her rent payment to pay for food for her family was a concern. However, her confirmed SNAP application and the amount she will now receive has assured her that she will be able to afford food for her family and continue to pay her rent in full each month.

Where Starlet and her three children live matters.

Operation Pathways, Inc. | Fiscal Year 2019 Annual Report 5

Operation Pathways is audited in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America (GAAP). The audit for the year ended December 31, 2019 was performed by CohnReznick LLP. The audit concluded our financial statements represent fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of Operation Pathways as of December 31, 2019, and the results of operations and its cash flow for the year then ended. A complete copy of our 2019 audited financials is available upon request to the office of the Chief Financial Officer 122 East 42nd Street, Suite 4900 New York, NY 10168 or by calling 646.336.4940

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Mission Operation Pathways provides and coordinates place-based programs and services for residents in affordable housing communities to increase quality of life. Vision Vibrant housing communities where residents are engaged, empowered, and supported to live to their fullest potential.

122 EAST 42ND STREET, SUITE 4900, NEW YORK, NY 10168 • 646.336.4940 1090 VERMONT AVENUE, NW, SUITE 400, WASHINGTON, DC 20005 • 202.789.5300 150 N. MICHIGAN AVENUE, SUITE 2800, CHICAGO, IL 60601 • 312.216.5103 operationpathways.org

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