Staff Stories: Meet Dorothy Williams

March 25, 2021

Dorothy Williams with face shieldDorothy Williams joined Homeward NYC in March 2019 as manager of the Life Skills Program at our LGBTQ supportive housing site in West Harlem.

The Life Skills Program is a collection of workshops, classes and counseling that helps homeless young people navigate their unique challenges as they enter adulthood.

The program builds skills needed for housing stability (including menu planning, housekeeping, budgeting and nutrition) and builds skills for increased independence.

But the program is so much more than that. As Dorothy explains:

“The Life Skills Program plays an integral role in providing safety and support. It is the foundation where positive change happens. Residents receive the guidance they need to draw on their own strengths—and realize their true potential and self-efficacy.”

Each location has its own Life Skills Program Manager who works with young adult residents to help them overcome emotional barriers and recognize healthy relationships. In addition to experiencing the trauma of homelessness, most residents have experienced family rejection and abuse. LGBTQ youth become homeless at a younger age and are homeless longer—the average age when New York City’s LGBTQ youth first became homeless is 14 years old.

Recent programs Dorothy has implemented as Life Skills Program Manager include a book club, mindfulness and meditation, and a decluttering event. Decluttering is an opportunity for residents to declutter their hearts, minds and apartments. Tenants gather up excess clothing and pay it forward by donating it to charity.

Dorothy has a Master of Social Work and continued her education as an older adult. She draws on her own lived experience as an LGBTQ woman of color to give back to her communities.

When asked what she finds most rewarding in her workday, Dorothy replied, “helping residents achieve their goals and knowing they feel empowered after their discovery. I always tell them, ‘remember you are the captain of your own ship!’”

Homeward NYC values professional and respectful care that empowers residents as active participants in their own care, goal setting and achievement. And we value committed, caring professionals like Dorothy Williams.

Thank you, Dorothy!