Federal Policy Brief | March 7, 2014
FY 2015 Appropriations Request
Congress should appropriate at least $75 million for the PATH program. $75 million is the fully authorized level of funding. In FY 2014, the PATH program is funded at $65 million.
The Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness (PATH) program allocates funds by formula to states to serve homeless people with serious mental illness. Eligible services include outreach, screening and diagnosis, habilitation and rehabilitation, community mental health services, substance abuse treatment, case management, residential supervision, and housing.
PATH supported programs reached over 191,839 people in fiscal year 2013. Of these, 65% were unsheltered at the time of engagement. Fifty-eight percent received mental health services and 53% had co-occurring substance use disorders.
Improving Data Collection and Reporting
In addition, efforts have begun to collect and report standardized data on client outputs and outcomes. Beginning in 2009, each state and territory reported on all persons served with federal and state match. States used common national definitions for enrollment and eligibility. Also, SAMHSA and HUD’s Office of Special Needs Assistance Programs (SNAPS) are coordinating client-level data collection and reporting for street outreach programs. In the case of PATH, the agencies’ collaboration efforts focus on a multi-level approach to include intensive technical assistance and training activities to facilitate utilization of the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS).
Examples of How PATH is Used
PATH funding has helped communities implement a ‘Housing First’ approach. Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) teams are often established using PATH dollars. ACT teams are evidence-based outreach models and are often used to connect chronically homeless individuals to housing and intensive services, i.e. permanent supportive housing.
In addition, PATH programs also work to connect clients to benefits including SSI/SSDI. Often they do this using the SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access and Recovery (SOAR) Initiative. Many homeless individuals are eligible for SSI/SSDI income but face multiple obstacles to actually receiving these benefits. This income can help end the person’s homelessness by allowing them to contribute to their rent, helping scarce housing rental assistance resources stretch further. SOAR trains case managers and works with Social Security Administration staff to expedite applications from homeless clients who are eligible. SAMHSA provides funding to expand the SOAR initiative and PATH programs are assisting with this expansion.