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Buddy Jones - Tenant of the Year


Buddy Jones’ entire childhood and young adulthood were rife with physical, emotional, and sexual abuse at the hands of multiple family members.

Not surprisingly, fifty-year-old Buddy struggled through most of his life, grappling with his sense of self and battling substance abuse, self-harm, and other risky behaviors.  He survived multiple suicide attempts, as well as institutionalization, rehab stints, more sexual assault, and homelessness.  Buddy could not maintain stable housing and was in a state of perpetual crisis. He had to find a place of safety.  

In 2013, things began to change once Buddy moved into Breaking Ground’s Prince George, where services are provided by Center for Urban Community Services (CUCS). At first completely isolated, he gradually began attending meetings at New York City’s LGBT Center. In 2015, he came out as transgender and worked with his case manager to obtain a legal name change. Feeling motivated, Buddy also enrolled in CUCS’ Career Network Program, and now works at the Board of Elections every year. He also was able to land his dream job last summer—a seasonal shift at Mets Stadium, the home of his most beloved team.

During his time at the Prince George, Buddy has developed positive relationships with other tenants helping with errands and walking their dogs and has reconnected with old friends. Program Director Shaun Adams states, “Each year he’s become more himself. He inspires each of us by his example of how to live an authentic life.”  Clinical Supervisor Muriel Radocchio reflects, “Buddy reminds us that feeling safe enough to take the risks associated with change is often the most important service supportive housing provides.” Today, Buddy has maintained his sobriety for many years and has not engaged in self-harm since moving into the building. He takes great pride in his impeccably clean apartment, which he shares with his loving cat Miranda.

During the past year, Buddy was diagnosed with terminal cancer and started chemotherapy treatment. Unwilling to let the diagnosis slow his stride, Buddy is committed to his health and maintains his treatment with an upbeat outlook, inspiring tenants and staff with his resilience. CUCS Clinical supervisor Michael Embrey remarks, “His resilience is outstanding. He continues to show amazing growth and perseverance despite what life throws at him and has been facing new challenges with a smile on his face.” For this, we are honored to recognize Buddy Jones as Tenant of the Year.

Watch Buddy Jones in our tenants of the year video below. 

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