In 1992, Dr. Sam Tsemberis founded Pathways to Housing, based on the belief that
housing is a basic right for all. He currently serves as the CEO of Pathways, which
operates programs in New York City, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, and Vermont. Pathways
developed the Housing First model that provides immediate access to permanent supported
housing; independent apartments and intensive treatment and support services for
individuals who are homeless and who have psychiatric disabilities and substance use
disorders. The program uses a person-centered harm reduction approach and does not
require participation in treatment or sobriety as a precondition for housing. 

Pathways’ Housing First is recognized by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health
Administration as an evidence-based practice, having been successfully replicated and
evaluated in numerous settings across the United States. Additionally, the program has
received recognition and numerous awards including the American Psychiatric Association’s
Gold Award in the area of community mental health. 

Dr. Tsemberis is a clinical-community psychologist and serves on the faculty of the
Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center. He has also serves as
principal investigator for several federally funded multi-site studies of homelessness,
mental illness, and addiction, and has published numerous articles and book chapters on
these topics. In 2006, Dr. Tsemberis was the recipient of the prestigious Macy Award for
individual achievement in the battle to end homelessness from the National Alliance to
End Homelessness. Dr. Tsemberis is currently working with the Mental Health Commission of
Canada to provide training and technical support in a national 5 city implementation of
Housing First. 

Housing First Articles


Exploring the role of housing type, neighborhood characteristics, and lifestyle factors in the community integration of formerly homeless persons diagnosed with mental illness (with Phillip Yanos and Barbara Felton), Journal of Mental Health (2007)

Background: Little is still known about what community, individual and program factors contribute to the...



Housing First for Long-Term Shelter Dwellers with Psychiatric Disabilities in a Suburban County: A Four- Year Study of Housing Access and Retention (with Ana Stefancic), American Journal of Public Health (2007)

Housing First is an effective intervention that ends and prevents homelessness for individuals with severe...



Decreasing Psychiatric Symptoms by Increasing Choice in Services for Adults with Histories of Homelessness (with Ronni Greenwood, Nicole Schaefer-McDaniel, and Gary Winkel), American Journal of Community Psychology (2006)

Despite the increase in consumer-driven interventions for homeless and mentally ill individuals, there is little...



Housing First Services for People Who Are Homeless With Co-Occurring Serious Mental Illness and Substance Abuse (with Deborah Padgett and Leyla Gulcur), Research on Social Work Practice (2006)

The literature on homeless adults with severe mental illness is generally silent on a critical...



Housing First, Consumer Choice, and Harm Reduction for Homeless Individuals With a Dual Diagnosis (with Leyla Gulcur and Maria Nakae), American Journal of Public Health (2004)

Objectives. We examined the longitudinal effects of a Housing First program for homeless, mentally ill...


Community Integration Articles


Community Integration of Adults with Psychiatric Disabilities and Histories of Homelessness (with Leyla Gulcur, Ana Stefancic, and Ronni Greenwood), Community Mental Health Journal (2007)

ABSTRACT: This study tests components of Wong and Solomon's (2002, Mental Health Services Research, 4(2),...



Community Integration in the Early Phase of Housing Among Homeless Persons Diagnosed with Severe Mental Illness: Successes and Challenges (with Philip Yanos and Susan Barrow), Community Mental Health Journal (2004)

The present investigation used qualitative methods to explore the response to housing and experience of...


Assertive Community Treatment Articles


ACT and Recovery: Integrating Evidence-Based Practice and Recovery Orientation on Assertive Community Treatment Teams (with Michelle Salyers), Community Mental Health Journal (2007)

ABSTRACT: We examine whether Assertive Community Treatment (ACT), a widely implemented and rigorously studied practice,...



ACT Team Members’ Responses to Training in Recovery-Oriented Practices (with Barbara Felton, Amy Barr, and Gary Clark), Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal (2006)

To further our understanding of the consequences of training in recovery principles and practices, this...


Book Chapters

Harm Reduction (with Seana O'Callaghn), Encyclopedia of Homelessness (2004)

Housing First, Encyclopedia of Homelessness (2004)

Is Housing the Cure for Homelessness (with Marybeth Shinn), Addressing Community Problems: Research and Intervention (1998)

A Psychiatric Rehabilitation Demonstration for Individuals who are Street Dwelling and Seriously Disabled (with D.L. Shern, J. Winarski, N. Cope, M. Cohen, and W. Anthony), Mentally Ill and Homeless: Special programs for special needs (1997)

Homelessness Articles


Effect of Full-Service Partnerships on Homelessness, Use and Costs of Mental Health Services, and Quality of Life Among Adults With Serious Mental Illness, Archives of General Psychiatry (2010)

Context: Chronically homeless adults with severe mental illness are heavy users of costly inpatient and...



Homelessness, Mental Illness, and Criminal Activity: Examining Patterns Over Time (with Fischer Sean, Shinn Marybeth, and Shrout Patrick), American Journal of Community Psychology (2008)

Abstract This study examined whether street homelessness, sheltered homelessness, and the severity of psychological symptoms...



Measuring Homelessness and Residential Stability: The Residential Time-Line Follow-Back Inventory (with Gregory McHugo, Valerie Williams, Patricia Hanrahan, and Ana Stefancic), Journal of Community Psychology (2007)

Reliable and valid longitudinal residential histories are needed to assess interventions to reduce homelessness and...



The Role of Espiritista in the Treatment of a Homeless, Mentally Ill Hispanic Man (with Ana Stefancic), Psychiatric Services (2000)

This paper presents a case study from an emergency psychiatric outreach team that serves homeless...



A Perspective on Voluntary and Involuntary Outreach Services for the Homeless Mentally Ill (with Cherie Elfenbein), New Directions for Mental Health Services (1999)

In continuing efforts to address the public health concerns and reduce suffering of individuals who...



Housing First: The Pathways Model to End Homelessness for People with Mental Illness and Addiction Manual (2010)

This step-by-step manual provides a solid foundation for introducing the evidence-based Housing First approach--provide housing...