Housing First

Housing First

Housing First

Housing First is an evidence-based, permanent supportive housing program that supports individuals to maintain independent housing and lead meaningful lives in their community.

The program immediately ends homelessness by supporting individuals and families to locate independent apartments in the community. Housing First clients are provided long-term, multidisciplinary community supports, including service coordination, drug & alcohol counseling, employment support, psychiatry, nursing care and representative payee services.


Number of contact hours – staff time spent one-on-one with Housing First program participants in 2023.


Individuals are enrolled in Housing First in nine Vermont counties as of December 2023.


Housing Retention Rate – percentage of current program participants who remain stably housed.

Ending Chronic Homelessness

Pathway Vermont’s Housing First Program uses the evidence-based Housing First model, which the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and other federal agencies regard as the best practice to end homelessness. Pathways Vermont partners with the Department of Mental Health (DMH) and the Department of Corrections (DOC), with Housing First Teams currently in 9 of Vermont’s 14 counties. The model asserts that while homelessness is a complex issue with multiple intersecting causes, the solution to homelessness is simple: housing. The Housing First program provides independent housing and community-based supports to individuals experiencing homelessness and who have a history of mental health and other life challenges, many of whom do not or can not utilize more traditional services offered by the system of care.

Pathways did more than just provide housing; they have connected me with doctors, resources, and have even brought me to appointments. They’ve been there for me every step of the way.

Serving the Under-Served

The program connects with those individuals who have “fallen through the cracks” of the system of care. The population served by Pathways’ Housing First program have experienced long histories of homelessness, involvement with corrections, frequent contact with emergency services, and long periods of institutionalization.

Since 2010, the Pathways Vermont Housing First program has ended the cycle of chronic homelessness for more than 870 Vermonters. The Housing First program maintains an 85% Housing Retention Rate.

Cost Effective Solution

Individuals experiencing unresolved homelessness are typically caught in what is referred to as the “institutional circuit.” This means that they cycle between crisis services, state institutions, and the streets. This cycle not only has a detrimental impact on the health and well-being of these individuals but also incurs a high utilization of public resources and their associated costs. As a result, it is often more expensive for this population to remain caught in the cycle of homelessness than it is to intervene with permanent housing. For example, the Housing First Program estimates that the daily cost of “homelessness” for the population served prior to program enrollment is $91.51, while the average daily cost of enrollment in the Housing First Program is $53.00. 

Rapid Re-housing

Pathways’ Rapid Re-housing project serves eight to ten households in the Chittenden County area.

Rapid re-housing is an intervention, utilizing a Housing First approach, that is a critical part of a community’s effective homeless crisis response system. Rapid re-housing rapidly connects families and individuals experiencing homelessness to permanent housing through a tailored package of assistance that may include the use of time-limited financial assistance and targeted supportive services.

Rapid re-housing programs help families and individuals living on the streets or in emergency shelters solve the practical and immediate challenges to obtaining permanent housing while reducing the amount of time they experience homelessness, and linking to community resources that enable them to achieve housing stability in the long-term. Rapid re-housing is an important component of a community’s response to homelessness.

Eligibility and Enrollment

Pathways Vermont’s Rapid Rehousing Program accepts referrals through the HUD recognized Chittenden County Continuum of Care Coordinated Entry system.  Referrals for the program are prioritized based on Chittenden County Continuum of Care recognized vulnerability and sustainability assessments.

Apply For Services

Pathways participates in Coordinated Entry, which provides referrals from local communities.

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