The mission of Pathways to Housing DC is to transform individual lives by ending homelessness and supporting recovery for people with disabilities.

HOUSING FIRST – As Simple As It Is Revolutionary

Executive Director Photo, Christy Respress

A MESSAGE FROM

The Executive Director

I’m thrilled to share this 2018 Annual Report with you. We know that ending homelessness will only be possible when our entire community joins together.

That includes our supporters, our local and federal government partners, businesses, landlords, churches, nonprofits, volunteers – all guided by listening to the people we serve. This annual report is a celebration of this community and our incredible partnerships.

We had ambitious goals for 2018: to move at least 101 people into permanent housing, to raise awareness of the solutions and our efforts to end homelessness with the broader Washington community and to gain the necessary private philanthropic investment to make it successful. I’m proud to share we achieved these goals and more. We ended homelessness for 127 people – the most in a single year of our organization’s history! This never would have been possible without you and our countless partners, some of whom are featured in this Annual Report. We thank our tireless, passionate, and dedicated staff who worked around the clock to move people off of the streets and into their own homes. The landlords who literally opened doors for the people we serve. Our federal partners at the Department of Housing and Urban Development who gave us new housing vouchers and the DC Department of Behavioral Health who expanded our behavioral

behavioral health resources to support people before, during, and after they move into their own homes. And we give a special thanks to our supporters, foundation partners, and corporate partners who gave us the financial resources we needed to close the gaps on items not covered by our contracts. Each of these pieces was essential in bringing 127 people home.

We are proud of our tremendous accomplishments and the stories shared in this Annual Report. Yet we know there is more work to be done as there are still thousands of individuals who will be without a home of their own tonight. We have the solution: Housing First. We know we can solve this issue by continuing to wisely invest our time, energy, and resources to support the people we serve with dignity and respect. My belief is that together, we WILL end homelessness and finally be able to say that every person in our community has a home and the opportunity for a life filled with meaning and hope. We thank you for your help. Our work would not be possible without it!

Christy Respress, 
Executive Director, signature

Christy Respress                                                   
Executive Director

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July Month Box

101 Homes Campaign began in July 2017.

Month of August

We hosted the Celebration of Hope -- an event that celebrated the educational and employment accomplishments of 23 Pathways DC clients.

Month of September

Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) grant to expand our services into Montgomery County, MD and outside of DC for the first time.

Month of October

Opening Doors Annual Breakfast fundraiser.

Month of December

Honored at the DC Federation of Citizens Association Annual holiday luncheon.

Month of January

Washington Post article on our new Downtown Housing First Team.

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Hosted “Coffee with Christy” - a Key Society Exclusive panel discussion with clients, board members, and program staff to learn more deeply about the services that Pathways provides.

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Hosted “101 Homes Celebration” to celebrate accomplishing our goal to end homelessness for more than 100 people. We ended homelessness for 127 people and smashed our goal!

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Hosted our annual Pathways DC picnic. Staff, family, friends, and clients came together to celebrate the year in Fort Dupont Park.

CLICK TO READ SECTIONS BELOW

HOME

Bringing Community Home:

Linwood’s Story

We have maintained a housing retention rate of 92% (in contrast to a 45% success rate for programs requiring individuals to get clean and sober and take psychiatric medications prior to receiving housing).When he was in his mid-50s, Linwood moved to DC for a career opportunity that never materialized. He began struggling with his mental health while trying to find a stable and permanent job. After his savings dried up, he landed on the streets with no place to go or anyone to turn to for help. He shared:

“I felt lost and lonely. There’s no hope. I survived by panhandling at the CVS at Connecticut and K Street to buy necessities like soap and food and maybe enough money to take my clothes to the laundry,  but it was never enough to be able to get off the streets.”

Linwood remained on the streets for over 10 years, because he was unable to get help with what he really needed: the safety and stability of a home. This all changed when he met Pathways to Housing DC, who started with the housing, first.

Linwood’s story was featured in the Washington Post in 2018 and opened up more opportunities to discuss why the Housing First model is so critical to ending homelessness.

Pathways to Housing DC’s leadership in bringing the model to the District and the charge to seeing homelessness end in our lifetime. We are grateful for media coverage that puts a lens on the incredible journeys our clients take home.

Our Housing First approach decreases police interactions, hospitalizations, and incarcerations, and drastically lowers the need for emergency services, saving DC taxpayers an average of $23,000 per person/year when compared to leaving them on the streets or in shelters. When a person in need is connected to Pathways DC, our goal is to immediately provide the security and stability of a home and the services they need to recover their lives.

Through advocacy, volunteer efforts, and previous investment in our programs, we have steadily expanded our services to meet the need in our community. In 2018, in addition to permanently ending homelessness for Linwood, we also helped 126 other people move off of the streets and into homes of their own — more than any other year in our organization’s history.

HEALTH

Photo of Dr Ortiz in chair with her dog.

Supporting Recovery:

Behavioral Health Services

Pathways to Housing DC delivered 27,244 therapeutic interventions through its intensive Mental Health Program in 2018.We believe that housing is healthcare and that the real recovery work begins after homelessness has ended. For more than a decade, Pathways to Housing DC has partnered with the psychiatry residency training program of the George Washington University Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences to offer their students a unique community-based education and training experience. More than 30 psychiatric residents, like Dr. Patricia Ortiz, have spent at least a year working on one of Pathways DC’s mobile, multidisciplinary mental health teams. Working in collaboration with service coordinators, nurses, outreach workers, peers, and certified addictions counselors, Dr. Ortiz and her teammates offer treatment, rehabilitation, and support services, using a person-centered, recovery-based approach, to individuals that have been diagnosed with a severe and persistent mental illness and who have, or are, currently experiencing homelessness. The team, including Dr. Ortiz, visit clients in their homes and on their terms. The goal is helping them reclaim their health and achieve their personal goals.

Before coming to Pathways DC, Dr. Ortiz had always worked in more traditional hospital settings. Pathways DC was not her first or even her second residency choice. Dr. Ortiz knew that while Pathways DC was known for pioneering the innovative and cost-effective Housing First model, that the clients were some of the “hardest to serve in the city.” Yet just after a few days, Dr. Ortiz realized how rewarding the work was, how supportive and passionate her Pathways colleagues were, and how remarkable and resilient her clients were. She even requested to come back to Pathways DC for a second year!

What shocked Dr. Ortiz the most was seeing how surprised her clients were to be treated like normal human beings, despite their challenges. She shared, “I can visibly see the guard come down even when they have come in with assumptions. They leave with an interaction with the health system that is not humiliating and is positive.”

HOPE

Photo of Danny Dotson

Quantifying Hope:

Employment Services

Hope Quote Image: For many of our clients, having a job is not the icing on the cake, it's the cake. By Khay Wood, Supported Employment SpecialistApproximately half of the people we serve express an interest in working after they have moved off of the streets and into a home of their own. Unfortunately, national statistics demonstrate that the majority of people with serious psychiatric illnesses are unemployed, despite the fact that research shows that finding a meaningful activity (such as work) is a key component of recovery for many individuals. Just like our housing first philosophy, we follow a “work-first” philosophy–if you want to work, we believe you are ready.

Our Supported Employment program provides pre-employment services and job readiness training to the people we serve, but for whom past competitive employment has not been successful given the nature and severity of their psychiatric disability. These individuals sometimes need ongoing support services in order to seek out and succeed in the job. Our clients are generally in their late 50s and have spent years, if not decades, living on the streets; many with periods of incarceration. A lot of the initial work done by the team is to establish basic rapport to help the people we serve regain a sense of self-worth in order to rebuild their skills needed to be competitively employed. Pathways to Housing DC is the only provider in Washington, D.C. offering supported employment services to formerly homeless individuals with serious mental illnesses. We know that these individuals can develop self-efficacy in their careers and lead more meaningful and independent lives — lives full of hope — when provided with vocational and clinical support simultaneously.

Danny Dotson is a client of Pathways to Housing DC who expressed an interest in working. While going through a very emotional divorce, he relied heavily on alcohol to cope. Mr. Dotson found himself homeless during and after the divorce, spending time couch surfing with friends. But this was not a sustainable solution for him and over time, he ran out of couches to sleep on.

Winter was just around the corner so it was important to Mr. Dotson to find a place to live, and quickly. He stayed in the New York Avenue Men’s Shelter for some time but knew that he needed to make a plan to get out of the shelter and into a permanent home of his own. After connecting with a Pathways  DC outreach worker about housing, she also told him about Pathways to Housing DC’s employment services. Danny was motivated, eager, and prepared to work. With guidance from the Pathways DC team, Danny updated his resume and began applying for jobs. Not only did he locate one job, Danny simultaneously held down three jobs.

In 2018, Pathways to Housing DC’s Supported Employment team doubled from 2 supportive employment specialists to 4, as the interest in job placement grew tremendously.

The team uses the Supported Employment model, an evidenced-based practice researched at Dartmouth University’s Psychiatric Research Center, during the job search, application, interview, and job maintenance processes to help clients work in a competitive position of their choosing.  Moreover, our Supported Employment program focuses on client strengths and has proven that work can promote recovery and wellness.

101 Homes

We set an ambitious goal to end chronic homelessness for at least 100 people between June 1st and May 31st, 2018 and that’s how our 101 Homes Campaign was created. One of our favorite parts of this campaign has been the updates sent to all staff by Will Doyle, our Director of Housing Operations. Every Friday he would email a 101 Homes Campaign progress report with snippets about those that had been housed that week.

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CLICK ON NUMBERS TO SEE DETAILS

  1. Gerri

    was the first person housed in the 101 Homes campaign.

  2. Douglas

    was referred by a partner agency and needed a wheelchair accessible apartment.

  3. Linwood

    spent 30 years on the streets. Pathways outreach staff visited him every day until there was a voucher available for him. From Washington Post: Blount immediately liked his two-bedroom apartment with hardwood floors where on a recent morning incense wafted through the neatly kept rooms. “I fell in love with this place the way I fell in love with my wife,” he said. Linwood lives with his wife Tamika, also formerly homeless, and their cat, Midnight. They celebrated Thanksgiving in their new home together. “I cried to myself once I got here because it was amazing; I was overwhelmed,” he said. “Can you imagine, I could be looking for the next bench” to sleep on. “Here, we can take our shoes off, and the turkey’s smelling good . . . and me and my wife can turn the key and say, “I’m home.”

  4. Michael

    was in the Army and became ill. During an extended stay in the hospital, he became homeless. He couch-surfed for a while but eventually ended up on the streets of DC. near Dupont Circle. With the help of our outreach team and our Veteran’s First program Michael moved into an apartment in December of 2017.

  5. Andra & Darius

    are a father and son that moved from the streets into their own home within 40 days of meeting our team.

  6. Anthony

    met our Golden Triangle Business Improvement District Outreach Team. He moved into his first apartment in only 21 days.

  7. Bob

    moved into the apartment of his dreams 56 days after working with our Downtown Business Improvement District Outreach Team.

  8. Leteisha

    came to Pathways through the outreach team. She used to lived in the tent community by Union Station. She experienced alcohol abuse, depression, and separation from her children while living on the streets and had multiple health issues (cerebral palsy, bronchitis, and a heart murmur). She moved into her own apartment in less than 60 days!