SOAR August eNews

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August 2016


NAEH Photo Collage
SOAR TA Center staff members, Kristin Lupfer and Jen Elder, had the opportunity to attend this year's National Conference on Ending Homelessness presented by the National Alliance to End Homelessness (NAEH). The workshops were engaging, thought provoking, and plentiful. There was no match for the inspirational keynote addresses from Nan Roman, President and CEO of NAEH; Matthew Doherty, Executive Director of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH); Jennifer Ho, Senior Advisor for Housing and Services at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD); Shaun Donovan, Director of the Office of Management and Budget; and Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Kristin and Jen commented, "We really enjoyed seeing many of you at SOARing Over Breakfast, in workshops, and during official and unofficial networking time to discuss SOAR, your programs, and how you are doing!"

For those of you who weren't able to attend, Kristin Lupfer presented on ways SOAR can be incorporated into the case management services provided by Permanent Supportive Housing programs. She discussed how increasing income supports through benefits and employment can be key to housing stability.

Jen Elder joined our federal partners and other experts at the post-conference session on Ending Veteran Homelessness organized by Vets@Home. Participants heard from a panel discussion on elements of successful community responses to Veteran homelessness and how to sustain local efforts.

Finally, one of the highlights of the conference was the keynote address by Dr. Matthew Desmond, sociologist, Harvard University professor, and author of Evicted. He spoke about poverty, housing insecurity, and the experience of families in Milwaukee, Wisconsin who lived through the ramifications of repeated evictions. His work brings attention to the struggles we see each day.

You are all key partners in the effort to end homelessness and we thank you for your contributions!

Sharing Our Successes


Congratulations to Tina Wilke, Liz Worth, and Amecia Taylor of Johnson County Mental Health Center in Shawnee, Kansas for their receipt of the Social Security Administration's (SSA's) Public Service Award in recognition of their coordination with SSA to assist homeless and at-risk individuals in Johnson County! The Public Service Award is granted to a variety of individuals, groups, organizations, and institutions that contribute in various ways to program accomplishments, public service goals, or management processes that direct the implementation of SSA's program objectives. What an incredible accomplishment! Keep SOARing!

SOAR Guest Post on NAEH Blog

A guest post on the NAEH blog featured SOAR Director Kristin Lupfer! Her post, SOAR works to increase access to benefits, explored the recently published evaluation of SOAR, which found that better outcomes were achieved when providers used the SOAR model to complete SSI and SSDI applications.

Strengthening SOAR Initiatives through Strategic Planning

The SOAR TA Center recently facilitated two SOAR strategic planning forums to expand and strengthen SOAR in Delaware and Tennessee.
  • On July 13, 20 participants from Delaware gathered to create a plan to reinvigorate statewide SOAR efforts. New efforts will focus on increasing capacity for SOAR throughout the state, sustaining collaborations with SSA and Disability Determination Services (DDS), and expanding SOAR into the Department of Corrections to ensure that individuals who are exiting the criminal justice system achieve income and housing stability.
  • On July 20, the Appalachian Regional Coalition on Homelessness (ARCH) Continuum of Care (CoC) hosted a SOAR forum in Johnson City, Tennessee to strengthen the SOAR process in East Tennessee. Using the new, comprehensive strategic action plan as a guide, the CoC will expand the number of dedicated SOAR benefits specialists in the region with the support of federal funding streams, such as Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) and the Cooperative Agreement to Benefit Homeless Individuals (CABHI).
We look forward to supporting both regions in their SOAR efforts! Do you have a success story you would like to share with the SOAR community? E-mail it to!

Using iAppeals to Request a Reconsideration or Hearing

A little over a year ago, as part of an upgrade to iAppeals, the SSA began a practice called "single-submission."

This means SSA only considers an electronically submitted Reconsideration (i561) or Hearing (i501) request as filed as of the date that the applicant (or, vis-a-vis the SSA-1696, Authorized Representative) completes both the online equivalent of the SSA-561/HA-501 and the Disability Report-Appeal (SSA 3441).

We know that many SOAR providers were using iAppeals before these upgrades were made by SSA. Some folks may think they have successfully used iAppeals to request a reconsideration or a hearing, but since they may not have completed the Disability Report after getting their iAppeals re-entry numbers, SSA will not take any action on those appeals. In other words, SSA will not electronically deliver to DDS or the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) because both the Request and the Disability Report-Appeal were not submitted.

For those SOAR providers who filed Reconsideration and Hearing Requests prior to these upgrades, your SSA field office may have forwarded the Appeal Request (SSA-561 or SSA-501) without a completed Disability Report-Appeal (SSA-3441). Alternatively, DDS or ODAR may have mailed the SSA-3441 to you for completion after the Appeal Request was received.

If you think your appeals may be held up at the SSA field office by this newer procedure, please let us know. We'd be glad to talk with you more about single-submission with iAppeals.

For more information on filing online appeals using iAppeals, checkout the SOAR website article, Filing Online with iAppeals.

Job Postings


Lifewell Behavioral Wellness is seeking a full-time Benefits Specialist based in Phoenix, Arizona. The successful candidate will be responsible for assisting the inpatient team with establishing benefits for members prior to discharge.


Colorado Disability Benefits Support Program (DBS) is seeking a Disability Benefits Advocate and a part-time Office Administrator based in Denver, Colorado. The Disability Benefits Advocate will assist individuals with disabilities applying for SSA disability programs and Medicaid-related services. The Office Administrator will provide administrative support to the Colorado DBS team assisting individuals with disabilities.


The Bert Nash Center is seeking a Benefits and Entitlement Case Manager located in Lawrence, Kansas. The successful applicant will provide outreach and support to adults with mental illness to help expedite the SSI/SSDI and medical benefits applications process.

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!

Federal Updates

Obama Administration Announces Nearly 50 Percent Decline in Veteran Homelessness

HUD, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and USICH announced the number of Veterans experiencing homelessness in the United States has been cut nearly in half since 2010. Read the White House fact sheet.

Enlisting Mainstream Resources and Programs to End Homelessness

This document, developed by the USICH, details some of the key mainstream programs and the ways they can support your efforts to prevent and end homelessness.'s "Quick Links" has created a new "Quick Links" page to help you quickly find what you need! Visit the links to get information about Social Security benefits, home health care, rental assistance, help finding a job, and much more.

Funding Corner

Check out the SOARWorks Funding and Sustainability page to access valuable resources to help sustain your SOAR initiative! Articles include Funding and Sustainability Tools and Resources, Crowd Funding Social Media Tips, PATH and SOAR Overview, CABHI and SOAR Overview, and Best Practices for SSI/SSDI Outreach Funding and Sustainability!

SOAR Voices Blog Posts

Light at the End of the Tunnel

Bob*, a homeless Navy Veteran who served in Desert Storm, has always been a hard worker. Up until he lost his home in Hurricane Sandy, Bob had worked for the same company for 20 years. At the age of 50, he found himself without a home, without a job, and needed to "start over". 

Key Findings from the SOAR Online Course Evaluation

A leading peer-reviewed, open-access journal, Frontiers in Public Health, recently published an evaluation of the SOAR online training model, which assessed SOAR Online Course usage from October 1, 2014 to September 30, 2015.

SOAR Voice: AmeriCorps VISTA

For the past year, I have served as the SOAR AmeriCorps VISTA at Journey Home, a nonprofit working to end homelessness in Connecticut's Greater Hartford region. AmeriCorps VISTAs (Volunteers in Service to America) dedicate 1 year of service to fighting poverty, with an emphasis on building capacity in the communities they serve.


SOARing Over Lunch Conference Calls

September 13, 2016; 1:00 p.m. ET
The next SOARing Over Lunch Conference Call will take place September 13th at 1:00 p.m. ET! The SOAR TA Center is hosting a series of informal monthly calls designed to help support SOAR efforts across the country. Participants can call in to ask about any SOAR-related question they may have. These is no agenda set in advance for these calls, but we do ask that you submit questions and/or topics you would like covered in advance of the calls.

Call/Log-in information:
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In This Issue

Light at the End of the Tunnel  

Key Findings from the SOAR Online Course Evaluation  

SOAR Voice: AmeriCorps VISTA

SOARing Over Lunch Conference Calls
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