This article concerns a SAMHSA-funded service intervention, Pathways to Independence, that combined the use of SAMHSA’s SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access, and Recovery approach to facilitating disability entitlement claims with financial management classes, mental health assessment and referral, and access to employment and housing for people experiencing chronic homelessness. The purpose of this study was to explore perceptions of this form of service delivery and the benefits and challenges of the program model from the perspective of those who experienced it. Focus groups were conducted with a total of 17 program stakeholders, including program participants, program staff, collaborating case management staff of the parent agency, and a landlord and an employer, with questions to each regarding the program and its impact. Focus groups were analyzed through independent coding followed by discussion to reach consensus on key themes. Five themes were identified across the groups: (a) the importance of relationships, (b) staff specialization and provision of individualized services, (c) an orientation to outcomes, (d) comprehensiveness of services and facilitation of connections to community resources, and (e) systems challenges. The Pathways to Independence program provides a working model for integrated employment, entitlement assessment and application, housing, and behavioral health treatment for persons experiencing chronic homelessness.
Allison N. Ponce, Molly Brown, Alison Cunningham & Michael Rowe
Journal of Social Distress and the Homeless, 24 Jul 2018