PATH’s Three-Year Plan Highlights Capacity, Equity, and Advocacy
As California’s housing and homelessness crises deepen, one of the state’s largest providers focuses on meaningful and inclusive growth
Los Angeles, CA – People Assisting the Homeless (PATH) released its three-year plan, “A PATHWay to the Future”, outlining the agency’s commitment to build capacity, advance equity, and advocate for system changes at the local, state, and national level. PATH is issuing this plan to build up key areas of the organization and provide flexibility to guide its effectiveness in working toward the mission to end homelessness for individuals, families, and communities.
PATH was founded in Los Angeles in 1984 and has pioneered bold and effective strategies to assist people experiencing homelessness. The agency provides services and builds housing across California, ending homelessness through person-centered care, supportive housing development, and community engagement. With regional hubs in Los Angeles/Long Beach, Orange County, Sacramento County, San Diego County, San Jose/Silicon Valley, and Santa Barbara/Central Coast, PATH works in more than 140 cities and serves approximately 20 percent of people experiencing homelessness in California.
While the COVID-19 pandemic upended many of our lives, PATH remained committed to its mission, nimbly adapted essential services, and prioritized organizational growth to meet this moment and beyond. The strategic planning process, led by consultant Bill Pitkin, included extensive research and consultation with the PATH board, staff, clients, external stakeholders, and community partners. The resulting plan focuses on three imperatives—capacity, equity, and advocacy.
These imperatives helped PATH set three core goals to reach over the next three years:
- 6,000 people experiencing homelessness will be permanently housed
- 1,000 new homes—including new supportive housing, as well as modular construction and motel conversions—will be built or renovated by PATH Ventures for people who have been homeless
- 75,000 people will receive services such as food, outreach, interim housing, and employment assistance.
These goals are ambitious but necessary and will play a crucial role in meeting the growing needs for services and supportive housing across the state.
In recent years, PATH has experienced a period of rapid growth. Prior to 2015, PATH operated only in Los Angeles and San Diego counties, and has since grown from around 300 employees to more than 900 in 2020. To continue to meet the core goals of housing and serving thousands of Californians over the next three years, PATH will attend to organizational infrastructure and “right-sizing” operational support within and across regions with a strategic approach to growth.
“We have always known the value of our essential workers and we are committed to providing the tools, resources, and support needed to carry out our vital work in these challenging times”, PATH CEO Joel John Roberts notes.
Across the state, 6.5% of Californians identify as Black or African American, but account for nearly 40% of the state’s homeless population. PATH has always worked to address known racial disparities in homelessness. Since 2018, PATH leadership has dedicated considerable time and resources toward internal diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives. However, recent events and protests for racial justice served as a call to action—PATH could no longer be silent and more must be done to address institutional injustices faced by people of color. That is why this strategic plan will focus organizational practices and policies in all levels to address these disparities. Existing trainings and committee work will continue and a dedicated staff member will be hired to manage DEI efforts across the organization.
“The inclusivity that is embedded in this strategic plan is indicative of PATH’s commitment to equity and racial justice. We brought together diverse voices to shape the future of an organization that fights for everyone’s right to a home”, PATH Chief Regional Officer and DEI committee member Jonathan Castillo said.
There are structural causes to homelessness and PATH will be more proactive in working to influence public policy and systems change. With the organization’s statewide reach, PATH will capitalize on its experience, data, and expertise to provide leadership on public policy and promote system change at local, state, and national levels in order to end homelessness. A Board Policy Committee will be established to evaluate policy positions, set a policy agenda, and develop mobilization strategics to engage key influencers and decision-makers. PATH will continue to build policy capacity and develop advocacy resources for staff, board, and volunteers.
“We all have a role in shaping public policy and our board members have committed to using our experience, expertise, and influence to ensure bold and decisive action is taken to reduce homelessness across the state”, PATH board member Shane Goldsmith stated.
Last year was full of uncertainty, but it was also a solemn time to reflect and embrace flexibility. For PATH, these unprecedented times allowed us to redefine our priorities and propel forward. Over the next three years, this strategic plan will guide and support the organization’s infrastructure, governance, and financial stability as we forge a new pathway to the future.
The full plan can be accessed here.
Founded in 1984, PATH is committed to ending homelessness for individuals, families, and communities in California. We do this by building affordable supportive housing and providing homeless services in more than 140 cities across the state. Our services support nearly 20 percent of the state’s population experiencing homelessness. Since 2013, PATH has helped more than 11,800 people move into permanent homes. More information at www.epath.org.