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About Sam Tsemberis

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.


Present CEO, Pathways to Housing
Present Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University Medical Center
Present Founder, Pathways to Housing

Curriculum Vitae

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Honors and Awards

  • Macy Award for Individual Achievement, National Alliance to End Homelessness
  • Behavioral Health Champion, Behavioral Healthcare
  • Gold Award, First Place for Community Mental Health ProgramAmerican Psychiatric Association, Institute for Psychiatric Services
  • Distinguished Psychiatric Administrator Award, American Association of Psychiatric Administrators, NY
  • Leadership & Advocacy that promotes public health, Public Health Association of New York
  • Marty Smith Memorial Award, For Outstanding Contribution to the Advancement of Services for People with Psychiatric Disabilities, New York Association for Psychiatric Rehabilitation
  • Special Recognition Award, New York University Department of Nursing
  • Special Achievement in Housing Award, National Alliance for the Mentally Ill NYC
  • Canada Council Fellow, Canadian Government, for doctoral study at NYU
  • Frieda Wenderlich Fellowship, New School for Social Research

Contact Information

Pathways to Housing, Inc
55 West 125th St.
10th Floor
New York, NY 10027
212-289-0000 ext. 1101

Housing First Articles (9)

Community Integration Articles (2)

Assertive Community Treatment Articles (2)

Book Chapters (6)

Homelessness Articles (5)

Books (1)