Addressing Homelessness and Behavioral Health in Rural Communities Webinar

Register today for this April 24 webinar!
Register today for this April 24 webinar!
Making Urban-Centric Models Work Webinar
April 24, 2017; 2:30-4:30 p.m. ET
Are you a SAMHSA grantee in a rural or frontier community? Does it sometimes feel as if you are working in a vacuum or that no one is aware of your challenges or innovations? This webinar will focus on ways that others are making best practices work in their rural or frontier areas.
Rural and frontier communities face many of the same issues that lead to and sustain homelessness in urban communities, but they also have unique challenges: huge service areas mean lots of windshield time between clients and providers. Lack of behavioral health services, widespread intergenerational poverty, and stigma related to seeking help for behavioral health conditions are complicating factors. Finally, most successful practices were created in an urban context and can be difficult to implement in rural areas.
This webinar, hosted by SAMHSA's Homeless and Housing Resource Network, will highlight SOAR and other urban-centric models that are working well in rural areas.
Register for the Webinar

Featured Presenters

Sherri Downing will facilitate the discussion and the Community of Practice (CoP). She is a Senior Program Manager at Advocates for Human Potential, Inc., (AHP) and is the deputy director of SAMHSA's Homeless and Housing Resource Network (HHRN). She was the lead writer of the Rural Housing Toolkit, written to provide concrete strategies that Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Money Follows the Person (MFP) personnel can use to transition MFP participants from institutional care homes to their rural and frontier communities. Ms. Downing also conceptualized, managed, and facilitated a popular 2015 Spotlight Series on rural homelessness. Ms. Downing was born and raised in rural Gunnison, Colorado, and has spent her adult life in Montana.
Abigail Lemon is a Senior Project Associate for the SAMHSA SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access, and Recovery (SOAR) Technical Assistance Center. She has a B.A. from the College of William and Mary, an M.A. from the University at Albany (SUNY), and comprehensive SSI/SSDI benefits training through Cornell University. Abigail is responsible for providing technical assistance to many of the most rural states in the country, and she is a subject matter expert on SOAR and transition-age youth, SOAR and American Indians and Alaska Natives, and SOAR in rural communities.
Melissa Bogart-Starkey is the Housing, Employment and Benefits Program Manager for the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services where she provides direct oversight for PATH, CABHI, and IPS Supported Employment. She also serves as the Co-State Lead for SOAR with an emphasis on persons discharging from state psychiatric institutions, jails, and state correctional facilities.  Prior to this position, Melissa worked as a boundary spanner between the Kansas Department of Corrections Central Office Division and the Behavioral Health Commission. In that capacity, she worked to assist people considered to be at high risk after release from the Department of Corrections, and managed discharge planning for Kansas state correctional facilities. Melissa also participated in extensive leadership trainings across the United States with SOAR, the Gains Center, the Center for Effective Public Policy and SAMHSA.  She graduated from the SAMSHA Leadership Academy in 2009.
Renee Geyer is the Grant Coordinator for Compass Behavioral Health which offers comprehensive behavioral health services to residents occupying nearly 11,000 square miles of 13 frontier and rural southwest Kansas counties.  She currently serves as program administrator for the SAMHSA Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services Supported Employment project and as project coordinator for the SAMHSA Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services Systems of Care project.  During her 7-year tenure, Compass has received awards from 36 different funders, including SAMHSA, Robert Wood Foundation, and the National Council for Behavioral Health.  Renee serves as Chair of the Rural and Frontier Subcommittee of the Governor's Behavioral Health Services Planning Council, through which she promotes the accessibility and availability of behavioral health services in rural and frontier Kansas counties.  Her work and committee involvement make her acutely aware of specific barriers that frontier and rural counties across Kansas face in behavioral service delivery.