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Projects in Assistance for Transition from Homeless (PATH)

PATH is the federal Projects in Assistance for Transition from Homelessness Formula Grant Program.  PATH serves homeless individuals who have mental illnesses and co-occurring substance abuse problems. The program provides formula grant awards to states for community-based treatment, support services in residential settings, and coordination of services and housing.


An Overview of the Program

The national PATH Program is administered by the Center for Mental Health Services, a component of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), one of eight Public Health Service agencies within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The PATH Program was authorized by the Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Amendments Act of 1990.

PATH is a formula grant to the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. There are over 480 local organizations that provide PATH services. The National PATH Technical Assistance Center assists SAMHSA in providing support to the state and local providers.

PATH services are for people with serious mental illness, including those with co-occurring substance use disorders, who are experiencing homelessness or at risk of becoming homeless. PATH services include community-based outreach, mental health, substance abuse, case management and other support services, as well as a limited set of housing services.

Virtually all states use PATH funds to provide outreach services to contact and engage people who are disconnected from mainstream resources. FY 2007 data reveal:

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PATH Providers are Strong Partners in Their Communities

PATH funds are worth more than their face value because they are matched with state and local resources. For every $3 in federal funds, state or local agencies must put forward $1 in cash or in-kind services. At a minimum, a $52 million federal allocation would result in a $17 million match from local communities.

The PATH program is a wide network of State and local agencies that contribute comprehensive community-based services for people who are homeless with serious mental illness. PATH providers engage community mental health centers and other mental health providers, community-based social service agencies, health care providers, substance abuse service providers, and housing programs.

PATH providers and State Contacts are involved in local and regional planning efforts to end homelessness. They collaborate with homeless service providers in the local Continuums of Care, the homeless assistance planning networks of the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). They work on local 10-Year Plans to End Homelessness and other planning efforts to ensure that services are coordinated and available to people experiencing homelessness.

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PATH Providers Deliver Innovative Services

PATH providers work with service delivery systems and embrace practices that work by:

States and Territories also use PATH funds to train local provider staff on effective strategies to assist persons who are homeless with severe mental illness.

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Virginia’s PATH Program

In the Commonwealth of Virginia, the PATH program is administered by the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS), the executive branch agency responsible for funding and overseeing public behavioral health services. DBHDS is sited within the Secretariat of Health and Human Resources, and the PATH program is coordinated in the DBHDS Office of Behavioral Health Services. PATH services have been provided in Virginia since 1991. Rhonda Thissen, M.S.W. at DBHDS oversees Virginia’s PATH program and can be reached by phone at 804-786-2316 or by e-mail at

Virginia’s federal PATH award for the program year beginning September 1, 2010 and ending August 31, 2011 is $1,428,000. As of September 2010, the Commonwealth funds 15 PATH sites in the state operated by Community Services Boards. Virginia’s Federal Fiscal Year 2010 PATH application can be viewed and downloaded.

Virginia’s PATH Providers and Sites (download )

PATH Provider Organization

Service Area (City/County)
Estimated Number of Clients Served in State Fiscal Year 2009
Alexandria CSB Alexandria 246
Arlington CSB Arlington County 307
Blue Ridge Behavioral Healthcare Roanokeand Salem; Craig, Botetourt & Roanoke Counties 165
District 19 CSB Petersburg, Colonial Heights, Emporia & Hopewell. Dinwiddie, Greensville, Prince George, Surry and Sussex Counties 192
Fairfax-Falls Church CSB Fairfax and Falls Church; Fairfax County. 686
Hampton/Newport News CSB Hampton and Newport News 270
Loudoun County CSB Loudoun County 81
Norfolk CSB Norfolk 196
Portsmouth  Department of Behavioral Health Services Portsmouth 261
Prince William County CSB Manassas and Manassas Park; Prince William County. 201
Rappahannock Area CSB Fredericksburg; Spotsylvania, Stafford, Caroline & King George Counties 276
Region Ten CSB, in partnership with On Our Own of Charlottesville Charlottesville; Albemarle, Green, Nelson, Fluvanna and Louisa Counties 57
Richmond Behavioral Health Authority City of Richmond 591
Valley CSB Staunton and Waynesboro; Augusta and Highland Counties 68
Virginia Beach Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services Virginia Beach 870

For more information about the federal program, contact the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Center for Mental Health Services at (240) 276-1894.

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Contacts: For More Information or to Find PATH Services

For more information on Virginia’s PATH program, please contact Rhonda Thissen at 804-786-2316 or by e-mail at

To locate a PATH provider near you, visit the SAMHSA PATH provider locator service on the Web at

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Other Helpful Links

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