Pathways makes way for new facility in Cos Cob

GREENWICH — For adults with chronic mental illnesses, a one-story doctor’s office that felt like a warren of tiny rooms was not a good fit for learning guitar, doing creative writing and practicing yoga.

But since 2010, that has been the home for Pathways, which offers programs and housing for adults with severe and prolonged mental illnesses. The situation is changing this summer, however, with demolition underway of the old building, making way for a new, 2,700-square-foot space at 8 Sinawoy Road.

“That building was awful,” said Susan Sternberg, a board member for Pathways, many of whose clients suffer from schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or major depression. “The last thing you want for mentally ill people is a depressing space.”

The new building has been planned for a few years, Sternberg said. The project should take nine months to one year to be finished.

The new house will be two stories, with a “light, bright, open and uplifting” first floor and a second story going around the perimeter. The building will have a kitchen that will serve lunch.

“It will be a complete contrast,” she said. “It is going to be so amazing for the clients we serve.”

Pathways’ day program is located in Cos Cob. The nonprofit also operates four group homes throughout town, creating safe and affordable housing for those who need it.

Some clients have jobs at Whole Foods or the YMCA, but some do not, so they take part in the programs at the center from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Sternberg said.

Currently, Pathways uses an extra room at one of its group homes in town for the daytime programs. The house at 509 E. Putnam, which Pathways bought in the 1990s, has room for 16 clients, but neighbors at the time protested and the town allowed 10 people to move in, Sternberg said.

“It’s not ideal, but this way, we don’t have to pay rent,” to keep the day program going, she said….. More