Pathways to Housing and the new film, The Soloist
Pathways to Housing, one of the largest nonprofits providing housing to homeless people in NYC, is spreading the word about the upcoming DreamWorks’ film on chronic homelessness entitled The Soloist. The Soloist is based on a series of LA Times articles detailing the life of a Juilliard-trained musician who suffers from schizophrenia and long-term homelessness. The author and his subject, Nathaniel Ayers, were recently featured on 60 Minutes.
The Soloist is scheduled for release in major theaters across the country on April 24, 2009.
Pathways to Housing uses the “Housing First” approach to homelessness that is portrayed in The Soloist — an approach that was pioneered in New York City by Pathways’ founder and director, Dr. Sam Tsemberis. Since then, Pathways has been internationally recognized as the innovator in this forward-thinking approach, which involves immediately housing and supporting the recovery of people suffering from chronic homelessness and mental illness — people like Nathaniel Ayers in The Soloist.
With the release of the film, public interest in solutions to homelessness will grow. The new administration has acknowledged homelessness as a central issue, given the current economic crisis. This climate is also drawing attention to the Housing First model because it has been proven to be the most cost-efficient way to end chronic homelessness and is by far the most “shovel-ready” approach—resulting in rapid housing with no bureaucracy or wait time. Because of this, federal, state and local funding for this revolutionary approach has increased over the past few years in order to bring Housing First programs to scale. And the results have been outstanding. In July, 2008 the New York Times reported that from 2005-2007 chronic homelessness decreased by 30% nation-wide and attributed this success to our Housing First program.
PATHWAYS TO HOUSING: THE FACTS
· Over the course of a year, between 2.5 and 3.5 million people will live either on the streets or in an
emergency shelter. This population, if it was a city, would be the third largest city in the U.S., ranking
between Los Angeles and Chicago.
· 23 percent of homeless people are chronically homeless, meaning that they have been homeless for a
year or more or four times in the past three years and they suffer from mental or physical disabilities.
· 16 percent of all homeless people in America suffer from mental illness.
Pathways’ Housing First approach to ending chronic homelessness for people with mental disabilities has been
proven to work. The principles are:
· Provide immediate housing without prerequisites.
· Listen to clients—offer them the support and services needed to achieve recovery on their terms.
· Integrate clients in the community—provide independent apartments in buildings across a city, rather
than in designated “homes.”
· The number of chronically homeless people in the United States dropped by almost 30 percent between
2005 and 2007. Administration official attribute much of that one-third drop to the Housing First
· Public cost of an average chronically homeless person per year, living on the streets and in shelters:
Public cost of an average chronically homeless person per year, living in a supportive housing program
like Pathways to Housing: $16,000
· Pathways to Housing clients have an 85% five-year retention rate and drastic drops in emergency room
visits, contacts with law enforcement, and psychiatric hospitalizations.
· More than 200 cities in the US and Canada adopted 10-year plans to end chronic homelessness, 67% of
these plans include a Housing First program
703 447-7106 (cell)
Pathways to Housing
55 W. 125th St. 10th Floor
New York, NY 10027703