Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness (PATH) grant is funded by The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Center for Mental Health Services. PATH was created as part of the Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Amendments Act of 1990. Since 1991, PATH has funded the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and four U.S. Territories (the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands). The goal of the PATH Program is to reduce or eliminate homelessness for individuals with serious mental illnesses or serious mental illness and substance use disorders who experience homelessness or are at imminent risk of becoming homeless. PATH funds are used to provide a menu of allowable services, including street outreach, case management, and services which are not supported by mainstream mental health programs. Since PATH is not HUD-funded, PATH funds often can be used to supplement and fill in cracks left by HUD limitations.
OMHSAS distributes funds to 24 county/joinder MH/ID program offices, which cover 36 of PA’s 67 counties, to provide PATH services. Many of these offices sub-contract with local community providers to provide PATH services.
Through its services, PATH links a vulnerable population who experience persistent and pervasive health disparities to mainstream and other supportive services. Collectively these efforts help homeless individuals with serious mental illness secure safe and stable housing, improve their health, and live a self-directed, purposeful life.
SAMHSA’s mission is to reduce the impact of substance use and mental illness on America’s communities by improving the quality and availability of substance use prevention, alcohol and drug use treatment, and mental health services. To achieve this mission, SAMHSA has identified five Strategic Initiatives to focus the Agency’s work. The PATH program is part of SAMHSA’s Recovery Support Strategic Initiative, which includes goals to improve the physical and behavioral health of individuals with mental health disorders, increase access to permanent housing, increase attainment of employment, and increase social supports.
PATH grants are authorized under Section 521 et seq. of the Public Health Service Act, as amended. This announcement addresses Healthy People 2020 Mental Health and Mental Disorders Topic Area HP 2020-MHMD.
The PATH program collects data through Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) format. PATH grantees are encouraged to collect and use data to: (1) identify the number of individuals to be served during the grant period and identify subpopulations (i.e., racial, ethnic, sexual, and gender minority groups) vulnerable to behavioral health disparities; (2) implement a quality improvement plan for the use of program data on access, use, and outcomes to support efforts to decrease the differences in access to, use, and outcomes of service activities; and (3) identify methods for the development of policies and procedures to ensure adherence to the National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) in Health and Health Care.
Participation in HMIS provides a platform for coordinating care and improving client access to mainstream programs and housing resources. This practice is effective in reducing duplicative intakes by numerous agencies within the Continuum of Care (CoC), thus increasing productivity and reducing service costs. It also helps enhance service providers’ understanding of clients’ needs. Use of HMIS for PATH enables SAMHSA to report reliable and consistent data on the performance of the PATH program. SAMHSA will continue to partner with HUD to support states and providers in collecting data through HMIS.
Per legislation, PATH-eligible services include:
Although PATH funds can be used to support this array of services, applicants are encouraged to use these resources to fund street outreach, case management, and services which are not financially supported by mainstream services and/or behavioral health programs.