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.
- For Federal Fiscal Year 2014, which includes most of State Fiscal Year 2015, the Commonwealth has been allocated $1,472,000 in federal PATH funds. Each year, DBHDS submits an application to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) proposing how it will utilize federal PATH funds and the required 33% in state and local match resources to meet the needs of homeless individuals with serious mental health conditions. Virginia’s PATH application can be downloaded in PDF format for review and comment.
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:
- 95 percent of all providers offer outreach to persons experiencing homelessness.
- 95 percent of providers offer case management services, including assisting with connecting individuals to mainstream benefits and services.
- 95 percent of providers use PATH funds to assist clients in accessing primary health care services, job training, education services, and housing.
- 85 percent of providers assist consumers with navigating the housing application process.
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.
PATH Providers Deliver Innovative Services
PATH providers work with service delivery systems and embrace practices that work by:
- Partnering with Housing First and permanent supporting housing programs;
- Providing flexible consumer-directed and recovery-oriented services to meet consumers where they are in their recovery;
- Improving access to benefits, especially through SSI/SSDI Outreach, Advocacy and Recovery (SOAR);
- Employing consumers or supporting consumer-run programs;
- Partnering with medical providers, including Health Care for the Homeless and Community Health Centers to integrate mental health and medical services;
- Improving access to employment;
- Using technology such as hand-held PDAs, electronic records, and Homeless Information Management Systems (HMIS) systems.
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.
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 Rhonda.Thissen@dbhds.virginia.gov.
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
PATH Provider Organization
Service Area (City/County)
|Estimated Number of Clients Served in State Fiscal Year 2009|
|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|
|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.
For more information on Virginia’s PATH program, please contact Rhonda Thissen at 804-786-2316 or by e-mail at Rhonda.Thissen@dbhds.virginia.gov.
To locate a PATH provider near you, visit the SAMHSA PATH provider locator service on the Web at http://pathprogram.samhsa.gov/Super/Path/Grantees.aspx.
- National Alliance to End Homelessness
- National Coalition for the Homeless
- National Health Care for the Homeless Council
- National Resource Center on Homeless and Mental Illness
- Other Homeless Programs in HHS
- PATH Program National Site (SOAR)
- US Code Title 42, Section 290cc-22
- U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Homelessness Resource Pages
- U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness
- Virginia Coalition to End Homelessness (VCEH)
- Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development Homeless and Special Needs Housing Programs
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