At Housing Works’ Stand Up Harlem, Maliq Edwards showcases his resiliency and determination for personal growth and does so with a joyous spirit that is admired by both staff and fellow tenants. Maliq’s transformation has inspired other Stand Up Harlem tenants to see what making full-use of the staff support and supportive housing services can do.
“I was really, really impressed with how much work Maliq put into pulling himself out of a destructive cycle that he was in,” said Stand Up Harlem’s Housing Director, Philip Stone. “Now, he is back to a place that I wasn't sure we were going to see again. He is engaged in programming, addressing his substance-use issues and is back in school. He has brought back this kind of infectious, joyous spirit that we had been missing in this community, that was kind of a cornerstone of this small Stand Up Harlem community.”
Struggles with substance use, an HIV diagnosis, and interaction with the criminal legal system brought Maliq to the front door of Housing Works’ Stand Up Harlem in 2014. Maliq admits to being closed off initially to the help offered at the residence, but he turned a corner this past year. He recounts how Jose Ramirez, Program Coordinator at Housing Works gave him words of encouragement and pushed him to make a change in his life after hitting rock bottom a year ago. Says Maliq simply: “Life is much better now that I’m accepting help.”
Now, committed to his health and personal-growth, Maliq has been diligent about maintaining his recovery and is in school studying criminal justice. He says he wants to bring his experience with the system to give hope to those incarcerated and let them know somebody is on their side and fighting for justice.
Housing Works staff also recognized Maliq’s passionate voice and have brought him into the process of hiring new staff. He actively participates in job interviews for different positions within the Housing Works agency.
Program Coordinator Jose is a huge supporter: “He’s this gentle giant with a big personality who actually cares for others. He cares about the staff, he cares about his neighbors, he cares about people,”
Says Maliq about his home: “I can't wait to come back into this little world of mine. I cannot wait to open that door and come in here because this is me.”
For his dedication to recovery, health and giving back to his community, we are proud to award Maliq as Tenant of the Year.