Transforming Lives: Celeste's Story

A Journey of Resilience

Celeste's path to Pathlight HOME was marked by unfortunate circumstances, as she found herself forced to leave a challenging domestic situation. 


For weeks she struggled to find affordable housing, eventually finding herself unhoused and finding refuge with friends. Those few weeks turned into two years without a place to call home. 


“At this point, an air mattress was what I had to call my own,” shares Celeste.


In addition to difficulty finding housing, Celeste also manages a number of chronic health conditions. While at the hospital, it was there she first learned about Pathlight HOME. 



Discovering Pathlight HOME

After making a full recovery, Celeste was inspired by the chance at a new opportunity. She immediately applied for Pathlight’s Restore program, which is dedicated to providing permanent supportive housing for former chronically homeless and disabled individuals.


“I didn’t think I would get approved,” says Celeste. “But I remember that day like it was yesterday. I got the call while standing in line at the grocery store and I couldn’t believe it.”


This unforgettable moment marked the beginning of a new chapter. 

A Welcoming Community and Supportive Services

Transitioning out of homelessness comes with its own set of challenges.


“I had nothing,” says Celeste. “But when I started working with Pathlight, they helped me get a new mattress, bed sheets, cups and more.”


Celeste shares that she vividly remembers “kissing the walls” because she finally had her sanctuary … her safe space … her home. 


In addition to housing, Celeste receives case management services that have empowered her to navigate various challenges, offering guidance, support, and resources to ensure her ongoing well-being. Additionally, the on-site medical services, such as regular blood pressure checks and weight monitoring, have helped Celeste manage her health conditions effectively.


“There’s no explanation for what it feels to have the support I have at Pathlight,” adds Celeste. “I used to wonder where I was going to sleep each night. Now, I am at peace. I can open my door and lock it. I can sleep in my bed.”  


Celeste's journey from homelessness to finding solace at Pathlight HOME is a testament to the transformative power of compassion and community. Through the support of Pathlight HOME's services, Celeste has not only refocused her life but also discovered her own resilience and strength. 


“I am so grateful to be where I am now,” adds Celeste. “I am blessed.”


With a housing-first philosophy rooted in compassion and love, Pathlight HOME believes in providing individuals with a stable home as the foundation for their journey to rebuilding their lives. Once residents are housed, we become a supportive partner, empowering them to make their own decisions and take ownership of their unique journeys.

Learn more about our impact

Celebrating Two Years of Impact Through Pathways Drop-In Center

Pathlight HOME offers an abundance of resources for the unhoused. Our core programs and services empower individuals to achieve housing and economic stability. 


In July 2021, driven by a shared dedication to serve the unhoused and guide them toward housing solutions, we acquired Pathways Drop In Center.


The drop-in center is the only facility in Orange County that specifically addresses the needs of, and provides vital services free of charge to those with serious mental illnesses who are unhoused or at risk of losing their homes. Through Pathways, we provide access to meals, showers, laundry, peer support groups and employment services.


For Pathways member Deborah, the drop-in center not only provides access to basic essentials, but it is a place where she has found solace and community. 


“There’s always someone to talk to,” shares Deborah. “Whether it’s group therapy or outings with other members, you’re never alone.”


Looking ahead, we have exciting plans to renovate and expand Pathways Drop-In Center. This expansion will enable the center to better meet the growing needs of Central Florida, while continuing to provide critical services to unhoused individuals living with mental illnesses.


To learn more about  volunteer opportunities at Pathways, click here


Finding Hope and Home: Mark’s Story

As a foster child, Mark lived in four different homes from the ages of 6-18.


As an adult, he faced a number of obstacles – including his health – that left him in unstable living conditions and eventually homeless.


Despite these circumstances, Mark’s spirit always guided him toward learning new skills and seeking ways to better his life.


For Mark, one way he’s taken control of his life was by applying to become a resident at
Pathlight HOME’s Maxwell Terrace apartments.


It was the first time in a long time that he had found stability and hope.


“When I first discovered Pathlight, all I had were my clothes,” says Mark. “Now I have a roof over my head. Without them, I would still be living on the street.”


As a resident of Maxwell Terrace, Mark is also part of the Restore program, which provides Mark with access to case management services, mental health counseling, a food pantry and more. With the support of his case manager, Mark has an advocate who helps guide him through the complex process of accessing disability benefits, while also helping him get connected with transportation so he can go grocery shopping.

At Maxwell Terrace, Mark has also found community. You can often find him participating in
group activities or lending a helping hand to his neighbors. Each week, Mark also volunteers his time with a local nonprofit to help people get transported to church.


“Living here, I’ve learned more, built relationships and get to enjoy the peace and quiet,” adds Mark. “The services here are so helpful, and I especially look forward to cooking classes.”


Pathlight HOME believes in providing individuals with a stable home as the foundation for their journey to rebuilding their lives.


Once residents are housed, we become a supportive partner, empowering them to make their own decisions and take ownership of their unique journeys. Learn more about our impact.

Clear Vision, Bright Futures

At Pathlight HOME, we believe everyone deserves a chance to build the life that affords them the opportunity to thrive in our community. For many of our clients, that starts with housing.


And thanks to OneSight EssilorLuxottica Foundation, the leading global vision care foundation, and its partner Transitions, our clients at our Maxwell Gardens community also had a chance to prioritize their vision care.


At a recent vision clinic organized by the foundation, 83 Pathlight clients received free eye exams to address unresolved vision problems.


One of our residents, Holly, is a hostess at a restaurant and often had to squint to see the tablet she used to seat guests. In fact, squinting became so natural to Holly that she didn’t realize it until her co-workers pointed it out. At the end of the clinic she fitted with her first pair of glasses.


“I knew it was going to be life changing,” shares Holly.

The clinic leveraged the OneSight EssilorLuxottica Foundation’s proven clinic model and manufacturing capabilities, enabling most participants in need of glasses to receive their newly prescribed, quality eyewear on-site.


At the end of the clinic, 100 percent of the clients who participated needed new glasses. And everyone who needed glasses received a pair that same day!


True transformation takes community partnerships, and we’re grateful to OneSight and Transitions for their commitment to providing equitable access to vision care.