Empowering women and children on their path out of homelessness through hospitality, housing, and hope.
A Birmingham free of homelessness.
The number of women and children experiencing homelessness in Birmingham, Alabama was both startling and growing in the early 1980s. While several men’s emergency shelters existed in that period, no social service agency provided any support for women experiencing homelessness during daylight hours.
In 1985, a small group of women from the Cathedral Church of the Advent (St. Mary’s Guild) partnered with Greater Birmingham Ministries (GBM) to fill that critical gap, believing that wrap-around services were needed during daylight hours to assist women experiencing homelessness in their return to a life of dignity and self-sufficiency. Over the past thirty years, St. Mary’s Center became an independent 501(c) 3 agency (renamed, Birmingham PATH) and later merged with another non-profit agency, Bread & Roses, in 2003 to become Pathways. Thus, Pathways is the oldest, continuously operating agency in Birmingham dedicated to serving women and children experiencing homelessness.
Today, Pathways continues to offer a range of services for women and children experiencing homelessness through four programs: the Day Center, Safe Haven, Stepping Stones and Pathways Early Learning Center.
The Day Center, located in downtown Birmingham, meets the basic needs of unsheltered women and children by providing hot meals, clothing, hygiene products, showers, laundry facilities, phones, computers, case management, and life skills classes. Women and children sleeping outside or in any place not meant for human habitation, such as an abandoned building or car, are welcome in the Day Center.
Safe Haven provides permanent, supportive housing for women experiencing homelessness with a serious mental illness. This program is the only one of its kind for women in Alabama and residents are welcome to stay indefinitely.
In February of 2019, Pathways opened a new emergency shelter program for women and children called Stepping Stones. The program provides shelter in a homelike environment while offering supportive services designed to assist residents in regaining economic stability and permanent housing. Length of stay in Stepping Stones is determined on a case-by-case basis according to individual needs.
Pathways Early Learning Center is a licensed childcare center providing early childhood education exclusively for children ages 8 weeks to 5 years in families experiencing homelessness. The program is licensed for 22 children at a time and serves families from shelters and unstable living situations throughout the Birmingham area. The ELC is open Monday - Friday from 7:30am-5:30pm.
Over the years, it became obvious that families need more than shelter to escape homelessness. Pathways provides case management services to all our guests to connect them with needed resources and empower them to build the skills and confidence they need to take the first steps on their path out of homelessness.
Many things have changed and evolved over the years for Pathways, but one thing remains the same: our unwavering commitment to women and children experiencing homelessness in Birmingham.