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Using Data to Tell the PATH Story
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Each year over 480 PATH programs complete annual reports on services provided to people who are experiencing homelessness and severe mental illness (SMI). Information from the reports are complied into National Data Tables and State Profiles that are available on the PATH website. States and PATH programs can use this data to tell their story and to describe the work of the PATH program nationally. View this article to download a PowerPoint presentation on PATH national data and use it to educate communities and funders.

PATH Providers collect information about the services they provide to people who are homeless with serious mental illness. Whether collecting information using paper and pencil, Excel spreadsheets, or their local Homeless Management Information System (HMIS), over 480 providers complete the annual PATH report each fall. The Annual Report contains information about program funding and staffing; the number of persons outreached, contacted, and enrolled; the services offered by the program and the number of enrolled consumers who receive them; and demographic information of enrolled PATH consumers.

The reporting period is followed by a two to three month period of “data cleaning.” The PATH Technical Assistance Center staff look for indicators of possible errors (i.e. reporting half or double the amount of funding as the previous year) and work with State PATH Contacts and providers to resolve these questions and correct any errors.

When the data cleaning process is complete, the PATH Technical Assistance Center creates a series of reports titled PATH Data Tables and PATH Profiles. The PATH Data Tables are tables of state and national information about services provided, rates of enrollment, funding, and demographic information. The PATH Profiles are individual state profiles that display the number of persons served and enrolled as well as demographic information. These tables are available on the PATH website by clicking the Data tab.

PATH data can be used at the local level to support grant applications, advocate in the local legislature, or educate the community and volunteers. For one example of how data can be presented, download this PowerPoint on the 2008 national PATH data. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) used this presentation to inform visitors from Japan about the national PATH program. The presentation can be modified to display state or local information.

Note: The National Data Tables and State Profiles are based on federal PATH funds only and the impact of local matching funds is not included in the current reports. Until 2009, the Annual Report reflected services provided to consumers funded by PATH federal funding only.  Therefore, the consumers assisted through state matching funds and the services provided were not captured in the Annual Report.  Beginning in federal fiscal year 2010, all the individuals and services funded by PATH federal monies and matching funds will be counted.

Do you have a story about how your program uses PATH data to leverage funding, educate the community, or inform clinical services? Contact the PATH Technical Assistance Center and your story may be featured on the PATH website!

Download the 2009 PATH Data PowerPoint presentation.

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A program of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Mental Health Services