What is PATH?
PATH is a federally-funded program placing teams of case managers & peer support specialists to outreach people who are homeless & have severe & persistent mental illnesses. There are 9 PATH teams in North Carolina, and in 2009, Homeward Bound was awarded Asheville’s only PATH team.
PATH stands for Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness, and like all our programs, its ultimate goal is to help people move out of homelessness and into permanent housing. PATH’s particular focus, though, is on mental health, and the PATH team works specifically with clients who have mental illnesses & aren’t connected to mental health treatment in our community. By building relationships with both clients and mental healthcare providers, the PATH team is able to connect people with the treatment they need in order to stabilize.
PATH does much of its outreach at A HOPE, but it’s also a traveling team. You’ll find PATH team members talking with folks in their campsites, in the vehicles where they live in parking lots, and at other agencies. PATH is unique in its focus & successful in its approach, outreaching 382 people in the past year.
To make a referral to PATH, call the A HOPE Day Center at (828) 252.8883 and ask for a member of the PATH team.
Why does PATH matter?
Two winters ago Mary lived in a warehouse where a friend of hers was renting workshop space. The small unheated room marked the first winter in 7 years that Mary had spent inside. After three months, a maintenance person working late caught her sleeping there & asked her to leave. Mary had moved her belongings – art work, camping gear, clothing, canned food – to the site & had no way to get them all out on a short timeline. When the maintenance department threatened to throw them out, Mary came to PATH, asking for a few bus tickets to move some of her camping gear so she would have a chance to set up somewhere else.
Mary didn’t make friends easily and had only begun speaking to PATH staff the summer before, although she’d come to get lunch at local shelters for years. The PATH staff member she spoke with encouraged her to accept assistance from the team & agreed to provide transportation to the warehouse to retrieve all of her belongings.
During the following months PATH staff assisted Mary with other small things: setting up a voicemail account, getting a local food box, thread to repair her clothing. Six months later, Mary came to PATH saying that she’d gone a week without food, that the prospect of another winter outside was too much for her, and that she was completely overwhelmed. Staff linked Mary that day with mental health support!She spoke with the mental healthcare provider about her symptoms of severe depression and the manic episodes she had been afraid to tell others about. With encouragement, Mary filed for disability and was later approved for full benefits. Mary now lives in permanent housing through a private rental that she pays for herself! She visits friends regularly and builds art pieces in her backyard, and faces the winters knowing that she’ll be safe & warm in her own home.
How can YOU support PATH?
Donate any of the following to assist PATH with outreach:
- P38 Can Openers
- Patch Kits for Tents
- Waterproofing Spray Rain Jackets
- Umbrellas Tarps
Want to learn more about PATH?
Contact Tracy Edmonds, PATH Team Leader, at (828) 252-8883 or by email: