The Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness (PATH) Program is a federal formula grant to assist homeless persons with serious mental illness. The grant was authorized under the Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Amendments Act of 1990 (Public Law 101-645, Title V, Subtitle B), and is administered by the Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). PATH is designed to provide funds to each state to support services for persons with serious mental illnesses (SMI), as well as individuals with co-occurring substance use disorders (SUD), who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. Additional information regarding the federal PATH program is available here.
The Office of Behavioral Health (OBH) receives PATH funding that is dispersed to Community Mental Health Centers and other organizations serving individuals with SMI who are also homeless. The services supported by PATH funding include outreach, screening and diagnostic treatment, community mental health services, alcohol and drug treatment, staff training, case management, housing assistance, supportive services in residential settings, outreach and services to youth in transition, psychiatric medication management services, benefits acquisition and retention, and referrals for other services.
- Program Objectives
The overall objectives of the program are:
- Increase the number of persons with SMI, who may also experience a co-occurring SUD and who are experiencing homelessness, who are contacted. (Target: 191,926 nationwide)
- Increase the percentage of enrolled persons experiencing homelessness who receive community mental health services to 66%.
- Increase the percentage of persons experiencing homelessness and SMI who become enrolled in PATH services to 58%.
- Increase the number of PATH providers trained on SSI/ SSDI Outreach, Access, and Recovery (SOAR) to ensure eligible clients experiencing homelessness are receiving benefits. (Target: 2,296 nationwide)
- Funded Programs
Currently, the geographic areas of the state that receive PATH funds are as follows:
- Colorado Coalition for the Homeless serving primarily Denver and Boulder counties, however, services are available in the entire metropolitan Denver area,
- San Luis Valley Behavioral Health Group serving the six counties of San Luis Valley in the southern region of Colorado,
- Northeast Behavioral Health serving the northeast region of the State, including Ft. Collins Greeley, and Fort Morgan, and
- Aurora Mental Health Center serving the city of Aurora
- Success Story
An Antonito man gave OBH permission to share how services he received through the Office of Behavioral Health were his "best Christmas present ever".
David was a successful labor worker and had been working the majority of his life. A car hit David one day while he was riding his motorcycle to work. After the accident, David was in a coma for four days. When he came out of the coma, he had a collapsed lung and broken ribs. David was then let go from work because of his injuries, he said.
David became homeless and starting drinking to cope with the pain from his accident and eventually received a DUI. He moved to the San Luis Valley two years ago and had been living in an abandoned building in the mountains.
Then David became connected with the Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homeless (PATH). The PATH provider in David's area - the San Luis Valley Behavioral Health Group (SLVBHG) -learned that David wanted to find stable housing in the area. David said he told his new case manager that he did not think he would ever find a place due to previously not having the support of others around him.
Within two months, David had been approved for low-income housing. David said he called his PATH case manager and told him he could not believe that he was accepted.
David said, "Honestly, in my case if it weren't for getting a DUI, and getting on probation, I wouldn't be here today. I got a probation officer, and I decided to work with him to get through my probation. I didn't turn away from him or treat him like an enemy. I worked hard to complete everything well, and for the first time in a long time, I had support-my PO worked with me, and was understanding and listened to me, and took time to know my needs. He connected me to PATH, and I thank God for the connection."
Thanks to the staff at SLVBHG, David now has a circle of support. He visits the office often just to check in.
David loves the PATH program at SLVBHG so much that he has become an advocate for behavioral health services and supports. He avidly tells others how to get behavioral health services, and has added Colorado Crisis Services to his list of referrals.