“PATH” stands for Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness, which is a statewide initiative designed to reach those who have historically been considered “unreachable” or “un-houseable.” At SHC, the PATH Street Outreach team serves our unsheltered neighbors, who are living in places not meant for human habitation such under bridges, in the woods, or in homeless camps. Since COVID-19, the unsheltered homeless population has congregated in Northeast Uptown in a makeshift community that is being called “Tent City.”
While a slim minority of this population may freely choose to live “off the grid,” most are not homeless by choice. In the unsheltered homeless population, there are many individuals who have debilitating mental or physical health conditions. Some have experienced significant adversity such as childhood abuse or traumatic military combat. Frequently, they are distrustful of a social services system that they may feel has failed them in the past.
The mission of the PATH street outreach team begins with building relationships. Through these relationships, the team reestablishes trust in the community’s network of resources. Clients who enroll in the PATH program are connected with resources and are provided ongoing case management services including assistance finding permanent housing.
Ebony was in the emergency room for only two weeks. But during that short time her entire life was turned upside down.
When she checked out of the hospital, she just assumed she’d go home. She did have, after all, her own apartment full of furniture and (more importantly) her own three children. But when she arrived home and prepared to walk inside, she was shocked to discover that the locks on her door had been changed. She was evicted. Except for the car she was driving, all her possessions were locked inside—and never to be seen again.