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PATH: Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness

The State of California has been awarded federal homeless funds annually since 1985, initially through the Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Block Grant, and beginning in FY91-92, through the McKinney Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness (PATH) formula grant. The PATH grant funds community based outreach, mental health and substance abuse referral/treatment, case management and other support services, as well as a limited set of housing services for the homeless mentally ill.

Although the PATH grant was originally administered through the former Department of Mental Health (DMH), as of FY12-13 the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) has assumed these duties.

In FY12-13, a total of 42 counties elected to participate in the PATH program. While local programs serve thousands of homeless persons with realignment funds and other local revenues, the PATH grant augments these programs by providing services to approximately 8,300 additional persons annually. Each county determines the use of PATH funds based on local priorities and needs. These targeted funds provide much needed services to an extremely vulnerable population throughout California.

In accordance with federal procedures, DHCS’s PATH and housing staff have developed guidelines that define the counties' responsibilities to clients who are homeless and have a mental illness. Counties receiving PATH funds must develop a service plan and budget annually for utilization of the funds. The service plan must describe each program setting and the services and activities to be provided. The estimated number of persons to be served must also be included in the plan. Each county that receives PATH funds has established one or more programs of outreach to, and/or services for, persons who are homeless and have a mental illness.

As of FY11-12, DHCS requires that all programs provide outreach and case management services.

Other allowable services include:

          • Primary Service Referrals
          • Outreach
          • Habilitation and Rehabilitation
          • Community Mental Health
          • Alcohol/Drug Treatment
          • Staff Training
          • Service Coordination
          • Housing Services
          • Supportive Services
          • Screening and Diagnostic Treatment                                                          


In addition to demographic information, the PATH-funded programs also report outcomes relative to achievement of their objectives. The most fundamental goal for PATH programs is outreach and engagement to persons who would otherwise not receive services due to the combined conditions of homelessness and serious mental illness.

In an effort to improve and expand services to the homeless mentally ill, PATH staff participate in federal, State, and local groups involved in developing effective public policy related to the problem of homelessness. Other PATH staff responsibilities include providing information and education on the needs of persons who are homeless and have a mental illness, and serving as liaisons to State and local organizations. 

County Analyst Assignments

Please view the County Assignment List to find contact information for the analyst assigned to your county.

PATH Letters

PATH Letter 13-02: SFY 12-13 Year End Cost Report Guidance 

PATH FY14-15 County Application Package

County Applications are due to the Grants Management Unit on May 16, 2014

Please download the attached Zip file below for the complete application package:

PATH: Complete FY14-15 Application                                                               

Quarterly Performance Reporting

All counties are required to submit Quarterly Performance Reports (QPR). The PATH QPRs report on Outreach and Enrollment, Case Management Service, and Discharge information. Each county is required to submit the QPR electronically to as an attachment to the DHCS 1784 QTR Grant Financial Status Report and the DHCS 1785 QTR Grant Cash Transaction Report. These reports are due 20 days after the end of the quarter: October 20th, January 20th, April 20th, and July 20th.  Instructions are included on the form itself.

FY13-14 Quarterly Performance Report.doc 

Annual Reporting

Federal statutory requirements for participation in the PATH program requires annual reports. To comply with Federal requirements, PATH providers receiving funds under the PATH grant must report data that relates to the implementation of the program. Each county must complete a web-based PATH Annual Report due no later than October 17, 2012. 

Each county will receive a specific username and password via the State PATH Contact to log in to, enter the data, validate, and submit.

Detailed instructions on the annual report, associated data checks, and frequently asked questions may be viewed on the SAMHSA PATH website.

09/18/13: SAMHSA has released an exhaustive Annual Reporting "Frequently Asked Questions" document pertaining to PATH reporting for the 2012-13 state fiscal year: PATH_Reporting_FAQ_2013_508c.pdf

Client Records

All PATH-funded providers must maintain a client file, which includes an intake form, a service plan, progress notes, and a discharge summary for all consumers enrolled and served with PATH funds. See Enclosures 20-24 (links above) for client records required by SAMHSA. Counties may choose to use their own versions of these forms. It is the counties responsibility to ensure all required information and data is collected to remain in compliance with federal requirements.

The intake form, also known as the Eligibility and Needs Assessment form, must contain information to determine eligibility for PATH services and to obtain data needed for quarterly and annual reports.

A service plan, also known as the Individualized Recovery Plan, is a requirement for all PATH enrolled clients. The service plan includes the following:

  • Goals to obtain community mental health services for the PATH eligible client, which includes reviewing the plan not less than once every three months
  • Goals that describe assistance provision in obtaining and coordinating needed services for the eligible PATH consumer, including services relating to shelter, daily living activities, personal and benefits planning, transportation, habilitation and rehabilitation services, prevocational and employment services, and permanent housing
  • Goals that describe assistance provision to PATH eligible consumers in obtaining income and income support services, including housing assistance, food stamps, and supplemental security income
  • Goals that describe the referral process to other appropriate services
    Progress notes are used to assist in the tracking of the progress made towards the goals recorded on the Individualized Recovery Plan.


The Discharge Summary assists in the recording and collection of the required information for Quarterly Performance Reporting and the PATH Annual Reporting.

Client records documents contained in the RFA include:                                                   

Daily Outreach Tracking Log

          • Eligibility Screening and Needs Assessment
          • Individualized Recovery Plan
          • Progress Notes
          • Discharge Summary

Publications and Reports

2011 PATH Federal Site Visit Technical Assistance Plan.pdf

Technical Assistance (TA)

California applied for and received technical assistance (TA) services from SAMHSA for FYs11-12 and 12-13.  This TA culminated in an on-site all-day training session in August 2011, and a webinar in September 2012.

TA Training: 2012

Geared for county staff, the 2012 TA training session was intended to build upon the lessons learned in the 2011 session. Topics included PATH program performance, client records, quarterly reporting, and data quality.

Building an Effective PATH Program.pdf

PATH: Client Record Checklist.doc

PATH: Site Visit Record Review Checklist.doc

TA Training: 2011

The 2011 TA Training covered PATH data collection, data migration to the federal Homeless Management Information Systems (HMIS), efficient methods to access Veteran services for clients, monitoring contracted providers, and monitoring direct services. The training also covered PATH outcome measures and the basics of PATH annual reporting.

PATH: Training Agenda 08/04/11.pdf

The Training Team.pdf

PATH: Overview.pdf

PATH: Definitions.pdf

PATH: Data Collection.pdf 

PATH: 2010 Data Report Draft.pdf 

Homeless Management Information System (HMIS).pdf

Expediting SSI/SSDI Applications: PATH and SOAR.pdf

Monitoring PATH Programs 08/04/11.pdf

PATH: State Monitoring.pdf

In addition to the links above, the following materials were provided by the State of Georgia PATH Office as templates to assist counties in monitoring their PATH programs:

2011 Site Monitoring Tool.doc 

Annual Monitoring and Site Visit Report Template.doc                                                

PATH: Outreach and Enrollment Samples.doc

PATH: Record Review Worksheet.doc

Mental Health Services Near You

For mental health services in your area, including other mental health and/or homeless programs, please contact your County Mental Health Department.

Additional Resources

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) PATH Program Website

SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access, and Recovery (SOAR) Website 

Contact Us

Department of Health Care Services
Mental Health Services Division
Grants Management Unit
1500 Capitol Avenue, MS 2704
Sacramento, CA 95814

Last modified on: 9/15/2015 4:26 PM