Pathways Vermont’s Story
The mission of Pathways Vermont, an organization established in 2010, is to end homelessness and provide innovative mental health alternatives.
For more than ten years, people in Vermont who have experienced chronic homelessness have received not only the keys to their own home but also the individual and ongoing support of Pathways staff. Just as the program name, Housing First, implies, people are matched with a home first, without preconditions such as sobriety, employment, or income. From there, the individualized services to support maintaining housing and engaging in the community are built around it.
That enduring support can last for months or years and looks different for each person, depending on what they need for physical and mental health and wellbeing. For the man in Apartment A, it might mean help accessing mental health and medical care appointments, weekly transportation to the grocery store, and assistance navigating the Medicaid application process. For the family in Apartment B, it might mean assistance finding child care, support with establishing consistent financial habits, and identifying community resources.
Pathways staff has also been working with individuals and families around the state using a Rapid ReHousing approach, based on the same principles as Housing First, which provides short-term rental assistance and support services to help them obtain and/or retain stable housing in 90 days. Our statewide Support Services for Veterans Families has been working with Veterans and their families since 2013, and we’ve been able to add Rapid ReHousing teams over the past few years to work with individuals and families around the state who can benefit from this housing approach.
Innovative Mental Health Alternatives:
As Pathways staff has worked with individuals and families around the state, additional needs that weren’t being met by the existing system of care came to light. To respond to those needs, Pathways Vermont also offers:
- Soteria House – a five-bedroom home-like setting, Soteria is a licensed Therapeutic Community Residence that opened in 2015 for the prevention of hospitalization for individuals experiencing a distressing extreme state, commonly referred to as psychosis. We believe that psychosis can be a temporary experience that one works through rather than a chronic mental illness that needs to be managed.
- Pathways Vermont Support Line – since 2013, offering confidential, non-judgemental support and connection for Vermonters; The increased demand early in the pandemic helped us to secure funding to make the support line available 24/7; 60,000 calls have been completed since it was established!
- Pathways Vermont Community Center – opened in 2012, the Community Center supports adults who are at risk of contact with crisis services due to mental health distress, addiction, or trauma – but are not accessing traditional support services. It has been a valued resource for individuals seeking community and alternative resources for mental wellness. (The community center is currently closed due to the pandemic, but our employment assistance program and support groups are all available virtually.)