Musician. Veteran. Activist. Podcaster. There are many words to describe Kenny Alvarez, but none fully capture the dynamic and creative individual the Network is proud to honor as one of our Tenants of the Year
Kenny was a veteran of the United States Marines and had obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Music Business. But an assault during his time in service left him struggling with mental health, substance use, and chronic health issues and he became homeless in 2012.
In 2013, Kenny was placed at a residence run by the AIDS Center of Queens County (ACQC), and caseworkers there found him permanent housing at the Doe Fund’s A Better Place. “I found stability on the Upper East Side, a place to collect myself and gain peace of mind.”
Since moving into A Better Place, Kenny has thrived. He obtained his Master’s degree from the Devry University-Keller Graduate School of Management in 2017. He hosts a podcast, creates art, and makes music. He also participates in the Network’s advocacy initiatives, traveling to Albany with us in February to meet with legislators, tell his story, and advocate for funding increases for housing and services.
Yolanda Jones, Program Director at A Better Place, said, “Mr. Alvarez stands out for his witty sense of humor and good-natured spirit.” Even after Kenny was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis while living in supportive housing, he remained optimistic. “Although Mr. Alvarez has been through many traumatic experiences, he has never let his diagnoses slow down his drive to obtain a better life,” said Jones.
Kenny’s case manager at A Better Place, Jasmine Downes, commended his hard work and motivation. She said, “Kenny is a model resident and continuous - ly sets the bar within our residence. Since he began his journey here at A Better Place, he has been determined to improve his health and overall quality of life.”
For his resilience and resolve, we are delighted to honor Kenny Alvarez as one of our Tenants of the Year.