Since 1984, PATH — which stands for People Assisting the Homeless — has envisioned a world where every individual has their own place to safely call “home.” This growing philanthropy operates across the state of California to assist vulnerable people in finding secure, permanent housing. PATH is currently the largest homeless services provider in the state, operating in 150 cities throughout six different regions — from Sacramento to San Diego. This translates to serving about 20% of the state’s homeless population at any given time, and roughly 20,000 people each year, through various assistance programs.
There are two parts to PATH’s housing assistance method; First, the group works toward building a greater number of affordable living accommodations. Second, they offer the supportive services each individual needs to maintain these homes once they’ve officially secured the keys.
Metrolink connected with PATH’s Senior Director of Philanthropy and veteran of the organization for over ten years, Tessa Madden Storms, to discuss PATH’s impact on the SoCal community. In her time with the organization, Storms has witnessed the successful placement of countless individuals into a permanent home.
Home is Where the Heart Is
Storms expressed that PATH understands the need to respect each person’s unique background in order to provide them with the right kind of aid. “Oftentimes this is the first home they’ve ever lived in by themselves — or it’s been decades since they’ve had a roof over their heads,” she said.
For this reason, PATH operates a wide spectrum of assistance services both during and after the search for a permanent home — starting with outreach directly on the streets for those in need of immediate aid. They also work to provide interim housing and emergency housing in situations such as the COVID-19 pandemic, which created widespread hardships for Southern Californians financially and health-wise.
“It’s incredible to see this variety and diversity of people that we serve,” said Storms. “Oftentimes, they’re people the general public might not necessarily associate with being ‘homeless…’ Because no one’s story is ever truly the same. We work hard to understand where each person is coming from so we can identify and connect them with the resources and support they’ll need, accordingly.”
Storms says that the ultimate goal is for interim housing situations to become permanent. To support this, PATH operates a multitude of mental and physical health services, family programs, and unemployment programs to ensure these individuals will be self-sufficient long-term.
Making a House a “Home”
There are multiple ways people can support PATH for Giving Tuesdays this holiday season. First, they can donate directly to PATH’s online site at www.epath.org/give and select how much they’d like to give. Second, they can use the Amazon Wish List or Holiday Toy Drive, both on Amazon, to select a gift. Everything will be shipped directly to PATH to be distributed accordingly.