SOAR March eNews

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March - 2016
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Contact Us SSA Webinars SOAR Voices Blog

SAMHSA SOAR TA Center Announces 2016 Continuum of Care Technical Assistance Awards

This year, 35 U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Continua of Care (CoCs) around the country expressed interest in receiving technical assistance from the SAMHSA SOAR TA Center. The 18 applications were well-qualified and diverse, making 2016 an incredibly competitive year. The SOAR TA Center was able to select seven CoCs for the technical assistance award. Congratulations to the selected CoCs:
  • Arizona 500: Balance of State
  • California 515: Roseville, Rocklin/Placer, Nevada Counties
  • California 520: Merced City and County
  • Delaware 500: Statewide
  • New York 518: Utica, Rome/Oneida, Madison Counties
  • Tennessee 509: Appalachian Regional
  • Texas 700: Houston, Pasadena/Harris, Fort Bend Counties
With the assistance of the SOAR TA Center, each CoC lead will attend a Leadership Academy, organize a strategic planning forum, and implement SOAR in their community. Thank you to all of the CoCs that applied - your dedication to SOAR is inspiring! Keep SOARing!

SOAR 2015 Outcomes Summary

SOAR 2015 Outcomes Teaser
Over the last 10 years, the SOAR approach has been used to assist nearly 50,000 people who were experiencing or at risk of homelessness with applications for Social Security Administration (SSA) disability benefit programs. The SOAR TA Center is excited to release the 2015 national SOAR outcomes for SSI/SSDI applications submitted using the SOAR process from 2006 through June 30, 2015.

Read the full brief on our website and view the overview webinar from February 24. 

Sharing Our Successes


California SOAR Trophy
Megan Partch of Father Joe's Villages wrote in to share how the SOAR-based HOPE program celebrates SOAR successes:

"In San Diego, California the SOAR program is known as HOPE (Homeless Outreach Programs for Entitlements). California had 350 SOAR approvals last year in an average of 75 days.  In San Diego County, we had 68 approvals out of 84 total applications (75 percent) with an average of 65 days until decision.

The team at Father Joe's Villages celebrates HOPE approvals to keep up energy & excitement around this process! The "HOPE Fairy" decorates team members' workspaces with a sign and candy when an application receives approval, and an annual "HOPE Champion Award" was recently created to recognize the Case Manager with the most applications each year.  Congratulations to Sarah Bartholomew on an astounding 13 applications in 2015! 

We've continued to look for ways to improve our data entry of the HOPE process to make it easier to follow and track internally as well as assuring we complete OAT tracking in a timely manner. We feel that our programmatic improvements paired with team awards & recognition will help us improve our numbers in 2016!"


Congratulations to Idaho for releasing its first-ever SOAR newsletter! The newsletter offers information on trainings, case management, steering committees, and hub leads for SOAR practitioners. In addition, the newsletter also highlights local case managers and the great work they do! Thank you for sharing SOAR news in your community!

New SOARWorks Web Resources

The SAMHSA SOAR TA Center is pleased to share three new website resources with the SOAR Community:

San Diego Leadership Academy

San Diego SOAR Leadership Academy
From February 9-11, 2016, the SOAR TA Center facilitated a SOAR Leadership Academy in San Diego, California. Jen Elder, Pam Heine, and Abigail Lemon of the SOAR TA Center facilitated the training. There were 20 participants representing 14 states (AK, AZ, CA, IA, IN, KS, MD, MI, MO, MT, NE, NM, SC, and WI). Participants were joined by Yolanda York, Public Affairs Director at SSA; Ashlyn Mitchell from California's Disability Determination Services Division; and Jon Perez, Regional Administrator, HHS Region IX at SAMHSA. All federal representatives provided expert guidance throughout the Leadership Academy on Social Security policy, current SAMHSA initiatives, and best practices to serve individuals who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

Throughout the 3 days of training, there was great enthusiasm for SOAR! We look forward to the local leads returning to their communities and SOARing! Congratulations to our new graduates! 

Federal Updates

Help SSA Create Its Next Open Government Plan

SSA is preparing to publish its fourth Open Government Plan this June, and wants to hear from the public! Do you have any suggestions for making data more transparent? Do you have any bold and innovative ideas for using open government techniques and principles to help improve services?

Share your ideas on how SSA can improve its transparency, participation, and collaboration through the Open Government Plan 4.0 Feedback Process. 

Department Announces the Availability of $13M in Grants to Help Thousands of Veterans Overcome Homelessness, Secure Employment

The U.S. Department of Labor has announced the availability of Homeless Veterans' Reintegration Program funding of $13 million to provide an estimated 6,000 Veterans with job-driven training for in-demand jobs to help them successfully transition from homelessness to sustainable housing and good civilian jobs. Homeless Veterans may receive occupational, classroom, and on-the-job training, as well as job search and placement assistance, including follow-up services.

Job Postings

New York

The Center for Urban Community Services Institute's Reentry Coordination System (RCS) is hiring a RCS Entitlements Specialist, who will be jointly based at Sing Sing Correctional Facility in Ossining, NY and the main office in New York, NY. The RCS Entitlement Specialist is responsible for compiling and submitting the applications for mainstream benefits for inmates with a Serious Mental Illness being released from NYS prison facilities to NYC in collaboration with pre-release coordinators.

North Carolina

Mecklenburg County is hiring a Program Coordinator/Supervisor within Community Support Services. The Program Coordinator/Supervisor works primarily within the Homeless Services area and is responsible for the coordination and oversight of obtaining disability and mainstream benefits for chronically homeless persons approved for permanent supportive housing but in a wait list for housing due to lack of benefits having completed the Coordinated Assessment process. 


St. Joseph Mercy Health System is hiring a SOAR Coordinator, based in Livonia, Michigan. The SOAR Coordinator will be responsible for initial outreach in the hospital service area to the client in the community, ongoing outreach services, completion of the application process, and referral for and linkage to needed services for each person served.

Learn more about these postings on the SOARWorks website. Do you have a job posting you would like to share with the SOAR community? E-mail it to!

Funding Corner

Crowd Funding Social Media Tips

As we all look towards ensuring that our SOAR programs are adequately funded moving forward, more and more people are asking, "should crowd funding be a part of our overall efforts to diversify our funding?" This question is a little complex, so we've provided some tips for you to consider as you look towards supplementing your SOAR funding with crowd funding:

Keep it Simple! When crowd funding, no matter what platform you decide to use, you will have to explain what SOAR is in very easy terms. Remember, 99% of the people reading your appeal will not work in human services and may have no idea what SOAR even is! As they say in law, explain it so a third grader would understand! Read more tips on our website!

Recent Stories from the SOAR Voices Blog

A Success Story from Minnesota

I work for Emma Norton Services in Minnesota. We provide transformational housing for women and families on their journey of recovery at two sites. Emma Norton Residence, in downtown St. Paul, furnishes safe and stable housing for up to 50 women who are experiencing homelessness.  

SOAR Works to End Veteran Homelessness

As we move closer to the goal of ending Veteran homelessness in 2016, income stability for Veterans with disabling conditions continues to grow in importance. We encourage providers to explore all disability benefits a Veteran may be eligible for, particularly those offered by SSA and VA.

Ending Veteran Homelessness in Southern Nevada

In November 2015, Southern Nevada declared an end to Veteran homelessness. We checked in with Ambrosia Crump, Nevada's State SOAR Coordinator, to see how SOAR aided in the region's efforts to end Veteran homelessness.

Upcoming Events

2016 Leadership Academy Dates

  • May 3-5: West Orange, New Jersey
  • August 30-September 1: Charleston, South Carolina
See your state liaison for more information!

SOAR Webinar: Immigration

March 10, 2016; 3:00 p.m. EST
SSI/SSDI applications for immigrants and non-citizens can be more complicated than for U.S. citizens. These applications require documentation of a person's status from a narrow selection of approved categories. Additionally, engaging an immigrant applicant, establishing treatment records, and communicating with SSA in another language can further complicate the process. This webinar will cover key areas, such as eligibility, obtaining documentation, effects of travel outside of the United States, requesting an interpreter, and other helpful interviewing tips and resources. Learn more about the webinar and register today!
In This Issue

Upcoming Events


2016 Leadership Academy Dates

SOAR Webinar: Immigration


The SOAR TA Center is sponsored by the
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Disclaimer: The SOAR Technical Assistance Center develops and distributes E-News with support from SAMHSA, HHS. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official view of HHS or SAMHSA.

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