Continued Funding Sustained by Specialized Services Agency Designation
SOUTH BURLINGTON, VT – May 7, 2014 – (RealEstateRama) — Pathways Vermont has been granted a conditional designation as a Specialized Services Agency (SSA) by Vermont Department of Mental Health Commissioner Paul Dupre.
Although others have applied, Pathways is the first agency to be granted SSA status in adult community mental healthcare in approximately 20 years.
Pathways Vermont takes a unique approach to solving homelessness. Instead of expecting households to move through a continuum of residences from shelter to independence, Pathways’ Housing First program provides an affordable apartment as its first service to people who have experienced chronic homelessness, knowing that housing is an essential supportive service and the foundation for their future success.
Pathways Vermont is the only rural affiliate of Pathways to Housing, Inc. based in New York City and was launched over four years ago in Vermont using federal grant funding. As that five-year demonstration program ends this Fall, the state of Vermont acknowledges the value of Pathways’ work and impact in the state and has made this designation to keep the program in Vermont.
“Pathways presents a housing and treatment option that is different from what the Designated Mental Health Agencies provide,” Commissioner Dupre wrote in his announcement.
Pathways’ Housing First program permanently ends homelessness for persons with serious mental health challenges who have experienced chronic homelessness. Since 2010 Pathways has housed over 240 Vermonters in 6 counties (Addison, Chittenden, Franklin, Washington, Windham and Windsor).
“Over the past few weeks as we awaited this decision, there has been an outpouring of support and recognition for this program throughout the state,” Pathways Executive Director Hilary Melton said. “Dozens of Vermonters supported by Pathways spoke at a recent public hearing, bravely describing how they’ve overcome their histories of homelessness, trauma, and addiction. We are thrilled that we can continue in this important role of working with these individuals towards our goal of ending chronic homelessness.”
Pathways believes housing is a basic human right. The program grants individuals immediate access to apartments in their communities and provides a variety of key services in a client’s home: psychiatry, digital literacy, service coordination, substance abuse services, employment support, peer services, and nursing. Pathways does not discriminate based on substance use or individuals’ choices concerning their mental health.
“We are grateful for the support from Commissioner Dupre and other key members of the Shumlin administration, from legislative leaders, and our many community partners,” said Pathways’ Board Chair Maura Collins. “This decision sets Pathways on the road to sustainability after our federal funding ends.”
This new SSA status will go into effect July 1, 2014. During the coming months Pathways will work with the Department of Mental Health to transition from a “conditional designation” to a “designation” once it meets the standards set for similar entities. Pathways Vermont expects this to happen within a year.
Pathways Vermont’s mission is to transform the lives of people experiencing mental health and other life challenges by supporting self-directed roads to recovery and wellness in an atmosphere of dignity, respect, choice and hope. For more information, go to www.pathwaysvermont.org.
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