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Pathways Vermont Inc

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Homeless & Housing, Homeless Centers, Human Services

Mission: Pathways vermont transforms 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.

Programs: Housing first program: pathways vermont's housing first program provides permanent supportive housing services to individuals with long histories of homelessness and institutionalization who are living with significant disabilities. The program uses a scattered-site model, assisting clients to locateindependent apartments leased by private landlords across the community. In addition to housing placement, the program provides wraparound community support services to assist clients in defining goals and overcoming barriers to independent living. These servicesinclude multidisciplinary approaches including benefits coordination, case management, psychiatry, substance abuse recovery support, employment support and nursing. At the end of 2017 the program has found permanent housing placements for more than 400 households.

soteria:pathways vermont launched its first residential program called 'soteria' in april 2015. Soteria creates a new option in the system of care for individuals experiencing an early episode of psychosis. The program aims to divert individuals from unnecessary visits to the emergency department or inpatient hospitalizations. The program offers a safe, residential setting where individuals are empowered to pursue their own path towards wellbeing. Soteria draws upon a diverse range of disciplines to support individuals, including peer support, psychosocial support, creative expression and psychiatry. Soteria has served 32 individuals since opening and over 90% of persons served have returned to the community following their stay.

supportive services for veteran families:in 2014 pathways began offering specialized intervention for homeless veteran households. In collaboration with vermont veteran services at the university of vermont, the supportive services for veteran families (ssvf) program provides short-term assistance to former service members who have recently become or are at imminent risk of becoming homeless. The program combines temporary financial assistance, housing placement support and short-term case management to re-stabilize households in permanent housing. Since its launch the program has ended homelessness for over 500 households through rapid re-housing and homelessness prevention.

(1) vermont support line: the support line completed 6,318 calls. The service diverted 18 calls from emergency services. 1,025 calls were from veterans. The caller satisfaction rate was 83. 58%. (2) the wellness co-op: the wellness co-op (now pathways vermont community center) had 3,700 visitors between july 2016 and june 2017. 3,330 visitors received support services. 1,421 meals were served. (3) vocational rehabilitation employment services: 78 individuals engaged in employment services, 47 job starts.

Community Stories

2 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Phaewryn

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was homeless and living in the forest in a primitive camp dealing with a misdiagnosis and the wrong psychiatric medications when I was referred to Pathways. Pathways found me housing, paid my deposit, and provided me with a private psychiatrist who correctly diagnosed my condition for the first time in my life. Since then, I have finished college with honors, fixed my credit, and started getting my life on track for the first time in my 40's. I wish I'd had them 20 years earlier, it would have saved me from so much trauma and suffering! Pathways provided the support and services that allowed me to thrive in an area where there were no others. They do essential work in Vermont that no other organizations offer.

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have a long history of mental illness, much of it not acknowledged at the time. I was 14 the first time I saw a psychiatrist. Against their advice, my parents took me home without treatment. My mental illness remained untreated throughout my teens and 20's, resulting in poor decision-making and choices. By the time I moved to Vermont in 2003, I had never successfully lived on my own - and I had been homeless twice already. I was living in denial of my mental illness. When I first arrived here, some nice people were charitable towards me and let me stay in a camper on their property until I found my first job in Vermont. From there I moved to a tent in another nice Vermonter’s back yard within walking distance of work, until I saved enough money to rent my first residence in the state. During that time, concerned friends urged me, and I became aware through social services that I was in an abusive relationship. Using the skills and strength given to me by this social service organization, I was able to find the strength to go to court and get a restraining order, and escape the relationship, which had been both psychologically and physically abusive. Unfortunately, because of the stress, and my undiagnosed mental illness, I was unable to perform my duties, and I lost my job. Not long after, I could no longer pay my rent, and ended up homeless - again. It had all fallen apart. For the first time in my life, I was ON MY OWN, and failing miserably at it.

For several years, I was caught in the struggle to obtain psychiatric care and proper medications, in and out of temporary housing, finding and losing part-time jobs, in inpatient psychiatric hospitals, and even sleeping in a car in a park. When I relocated to Southern Vermont, I didn’t realize there weren’t any jobs or psychiatrists accepting patients in the area. At the time, I was on sedatives for my mental illness, which I required to be in any way functional. My new primary care doctor outright refused to prescribe them, and when I tried to look for other doctors who possibly would, I was labeled "a doctor shopper" - a term I'd never heard of before. From that point forward, my needs were dismissed at every doctor's office I went to, no one would help me, and I was without the medications I needed to function and remain sane. I was repeatedly turned away from the Emergency Room, who refused to admit me, or even after I was referred there by my primary care doctor himself, via ambulance. "Go home", they’d say, "We can't do anything for you".

I eventually found myself camping in the forest outside of Bellows Falls. During that time, I experienced a volatile combination of disabling psychiatric medications, endless auditory hallucinations and paranoia caused by them, and the struggle of living isolated in the forest.

It's hard for me to talk about that time. I've lived through tornadoes that took down half my neighborhood, I've lived through domestic abuse. There have been a lot of traumatic events throughout my life that have shaped me, changed me, and hurt me - but nothing really compares to those dark years in the forest. Living in the forest with no resources is pretty hard. You learn a lot about survival. You learn how to acquire soap from public restrooms, how to find junk fabric at the recycle center to use as toilet paper, how to wash laundry in a pail using creek water, how to build effective shelters - you learn how to source the things that most people take for granted. You become stronger, more capable, and more resourceful. I could tell you all the ways in which being homeless in the forest is hard - but I'd rather tell you about how being a survivor makes you strong.

During my period of homelessness in Bellows Falls, I had come to know a great community drop-in center and food shelf, and they referred me to a brand new program helping people with a history of homelessness and mental illness get into permanent supportive housing, called Pathways Vermont. Pathways Vermont accepted me as one of their first clients. They provided me with access to their private psychiatrist, who FINALLY diagnosed me correctly as having Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Anxiety. I was put on THE RIGHT MEDICATIONS, slowly weaned at my own pace off the heavy sedatives I'd previously required to sleep, and for the first time in my life MY HEAD CLEARED. Pathways enabled me to get out of the forest. Pathways facilitated my application and approval for a housing voucher from the Department of Mental Health, and Pathways helped me find a clean, safe, and comfortable apartment in Bellows Falls right next to the bus line and within walking distance of the grocery store. Because I'd lost most of my possessions, Pathways' staff set me up with essentials like kitchenware, a microwave, a bed, and other household items that would have been difficult to impossible to acquire on my own. Pathways provided me with a caseworker who came to me, offering me all the additional support I needed to succeed on my own, without the stress of having to schedule appointments and ride the bus to the city. To this day I meet with my Pathways' psychiatrist online in videochat, and my caseworker comes to visit me at my home, a very helpful process, since I do not have to worry about the bus schedules or missing a bus - this is a huge help for me because riding the bus is a very stressful and anxiety-inducing experience.

With Pathway's help, my life is looking up. It took me five years under Pathway's care to heal from decades of trauma, but today I am enrolled in college, pursuing a degree in STEM Studies and Computer Systems Management at the local Community College, with plans to eventually transfer to a 4 year college to complete an engineering degree. I am focused, determined, and absolutely dedicated to IMPROVE MYSELF to GIVE BACK TO MY COMMUNITY and all the Vermonters who have helped me when I had nothing at all. I wouldn't have gotten there without Pathways. Pathways is absolutely the most essential element in my life. My mental illness isn't cured, this isn't a story about a miraculous recovery, it's an ongoing process that will continue for the rest of my life. It's a process that requires a good support system, a solid base to stand on, and strength and determination. It's not easy, and I struggle at times, but Pathways is always there for me when I need a little extra support, and with that support, I can accomplish great things. Five years ago I was in a tent, stuck, and powerless. Today I'm standing here talking to you about my future. Pathways was the catalyst that transformed my life. I'm proud to be a client of Pathways' programs, and I'm not afraid to tell my story so that others can have access to the same resources that helped me get where I am today. Supportive housing does change lives - Pathways Vermont changed mine.