SOAR June eNews

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June - 2015
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Contact Us SSA Webinars SOAR Voices Blog

SOAR Presents at the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans Conference

  From left to right, Mary Clark, Jen Elder, and Dazara Ware at the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans Conference, holding signs that depict what ending Veteran homelessness means to them.
In May 2015, SOAR TA Center liaisons Dazara Ware and Jen Elder, along with United Way of Greater Atlanta's Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) Coordinator, Mary Clark, spoke at the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans (NCHV) Conference in Washington, D.C. about the importance of Social Security disability income for Veterans with disabling conditions. They provided critical information about using SOAR with justice-involved Veterans in Veterans Courts and at Stand Down events. The panel also presented best practices for staff implementing SOAR at U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Centers, as well as examples of how SSVF grantees are successfully utilizing SOAR to increase housing stability. If you would like more information about using SOAR with Veterans, contact us at For more information about NCHV, visit:

Sharing Our Successes

Kansas: Sherrie Watkins-Alvey, the Director of Housing and Employment Services at the Wyandot Center for Community Behavioral Healthcare, Inc. in Kansas City, Kansas shared this personal success story from a client who was able to obtain housing and achieve recovery through wraparound services, including the SOAR process:

"I was homeless for approximately 1 year.  Annie Kessler, my SOAR Case Manager, got me approved for SSI.  When I got approved, I was able to get housed, get a medical card for my medications, and have a refrigerator to keep my food.  Then on May 7, 2014, I made a major decision to get clean and sober, take my medications as prescribed, and to keep my housing.  I have now been clean and sober for 1 year and 5 days!  I am housed in a great apartment on the bus line.  What helped me the most was the way everyone wrapped around me.  I had been unstable on my meds for 3 years.  Dr. Mark Cannon worked with me, and he did not give up on me, even when I slipped... Patrick Sumner at Frank Williams Outreach Center played a big part in my recovery, too, by offering me his unlimited support.  Wendy Williams, my Case Manager, did not sugarcoat anything, which was exactly what I needed to become stable.  Wendy is one of the most compassionate people that I've ever met.  She goes way beyond for her clients.  I could not have done my recovery without Wyandot Center's support.  They are invaluable to me."

What an inspiring story! Thank you for sharing, Sherrie!

Federal Updates

Medicaid Primer & Companion Piece

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation released two new reports in 2014 -- A Primer on Using Medicaid for People Experiencing Chronic Homelessness and Tenants in Supportive Housing and a companion piece, Emerging Practices in the Field. The Primer and the companion piece serve as tools for states and communities working to expand services and supports for people in supportive housing. The SOAR Process is mentioned in both reports -- an excerpt from the Primer notes, "In recent years, SAMHSA has encouraged states and communities to increase the effectiveness of their efforts to enroll people with qualifying disabilities and levels of functional impairment into SSI through its SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access, and Recovery (SOAR) program."

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services: New Money Follows the Person Demonstration Report Available

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have released a new report related to the Money Follows the Person (MFP) demonstration, titled "The Right Supports at the Right Time: How Money Follows the Person Programs Are Supporting Diverse Populations in the Community." This report examines how six MFP grantees are serving populations with diverse needs in the community, and the factors that have contributed to the grantees' strong performance on key outcome measures. Read the report.

Funding Corner

Foundation Center - Free Training Videos 

Grant seeking Basics
: This introductory training provides an overview of the funding research process for those seeking grants from foundations, corporations, and grant-making public charities.

Introduction to Proposal Writing
: This recorded training teaches viewers the basic steps and tools needed for successful proposal writing.

Don't Forget: SOAR TA Center Offers Individual Funding Searches

Did you know you are eligible to receive a free, comprehensive funding source report from the SOAR TA Center? Answer a few easy questions and within days you will receive a full list of potential funding sources to grow or sustain SOAR activities in your state. The reports are specifically tailored to your geographic location, funding goals, and objectives! See your SOAR State Liaison for more information!

W.K. Kellogg Foundation

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Since 2008, the foundation has provided financial support to over 40 organizations that provide direct supports, like SOAR, to people who are experiencing homelessness to help them achieve long-term housing stability. Information including about past grants, eligibility, and how to apply can be found here

Recent Stories from the SOAR Voices Blog

SOAR Liaison Spotlight

Get to know SOAR Project Associate, Abigail Lemon, in this new blog. Find out what states she works with, her favorite travel story, and her favorite SOAR success story! Read the full blog.

Top 10 SOAR Myths Debunked!

Through our work at the SOAR TA Center, we've come across some interesting (and sometimes funny) misunderstandings of SOAR terminology and process. We wanted to set the record straight, and correct some of the most common "myths" of SOAR. Read the full blog.


SOAR Critical Components

One of the key elements of the SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access and Recovery (SOAR) approach to completing Social Security Administration (SSA) disability benefits applications is the use of five "critical components." Read the full blog.

Upcoming Events

Hearing Tips for Beginners Webinar

Thursday, June 25, 2015 at 3:00 p.m. EDT

SOAR practitioners have proven their proficiency at assisting with initial SSI/SSDI applications. However, since appeals are a reality, we know that many are already assisting applicants to prepare for hearings or are interested in gaining the necessary skills to effectively represent SOAR applicants at the hearing level.

This webinar, to be held on Thursday, June 25, 2015, 3:00 - 4:30 p.m. EDT will provide the tips and tools necessary to understand SSA's Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) hearing process.  The focus is to inform the SOAR practitioner about the major activities performed by the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR), and what is expected from the Representative to prepare for and conduct a hearing in a Social Security disability claim.

Speakers will include attorney representatives who will share their knowledge and experience with representing SOAR applicants with ODAR. Webinar participants will gain firsthand knowledge from SOAR advocates who are obtaining great outcomes at the hearing level using SOAR.

Register here!

Leadership Academy 2015 Dates

September 1-3, 2015 - Denver, CO
Contact your SOAR State Liaison for more information!
In This Issue