Promoting Reentry Success Through Increased Access to Social Security Benefits
New Publication in American Jails Magazine on Promoting Reentry Success through SOAR
A new article on promoting reentry success through income supports and the SOAR model has been published in the January/February 2019 issue of American Jails Magazine. SAMHSA SOAR TA Center Liaison Dazara Ware and SAMHSA SOAR TA Center Director Kristin Lupfer authored the article, Promoting Reentry Success Through Increased Access to Social Security Benefits.
The article examines how jails across the United States are implementing the SOAR model to connect individuals reentering the community who are at risk of homelessness and have a serious mental illness, medical impairment, and/or a co-occurring substance use disorder to Social Security disability benefits. By connecting eligible individuals reentering the community with income supports, jails have the opportunity to set these individuals on a path towards stability and recovery and reduce the likelihood of recidivism. Two jails (Miami-Dade County, Florida and Davidson County, Tennessee) implementing the SOAR model with community partners are highlighted in the article.
Interested in learning how you can use the SOAR model to assist justice-involved individuals in your community? Visit the SOARWorks Criminal Justice library where you can access tools, issue briefs, and frequently asked questions! Have more questions? Reach out to SOAR Liaison Dazara Ware!
The SAMHSA SOAR TA Center is proud to announce that 7,000 people have graduated from the SOAR Online Course: Adult Curriculum since its start in 2014! The growth of the SOAR Online Course over the past 6 years has been tremendous, and we are thrilled that 7,000 people from around the country are equipped with the knowledge and tools to help individuals experiencing homelessness in their communities with Supplemental Security Income (SSI)/Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) applications. Will you be graduate 7,001? If so, start the SOAR Online Course: Adult Curriculum today!
Swords to Plowshares Shares Keys to Success in Stabilizing Income for Veterans Experiencing Homelessness
How Housing Matters interviewed our friends at Swords to Plowshares in California along with representatives from the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans and the Urban Institute about rapid re-housing support services. During the interview, Jacob Donnelly, Director of Support Services as Swords to Plowshares, discussed strategies to stabilize income for Veterans who have experienced homelessness and gave a shout out to SOAR!
"How Housing Matters: Once Veterans receive housing services, maintaining housing stability is key. The threat of eviction is a concern for those living on the cusp of homelessness. In what ways can Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) be a response mechanism for eviction prevention and offer long-term stability?
Donnelly: At Swords to Plowshares, we provide additional supports through SSVF to help Veterans maintain their housing and increase their quality of life while housed for the long term. For instance, our SOAR and money management programs help Veterans increase and then stabilize their income and spending. We have 102 Veterans enrolled in money management, many of whom were served with SSVF housing assistance. Our homelessness prevention services have prevented eviction because nonpayment of rent for hundreds of Veterans in San Francisco and Alameda County in the last few years—163 were served in the most recent contract year."
Visiting Nurse Association in Norristown, Pennsylvania Helps Family SOAR
Katie Lundy from the Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) Community Services in Norristown, Pennsylvania wrote in to share this incredible SOAR success story!
"SOAR began as a pilot program in our community but has grown over the past 3 years into a well-respected program sought after to help those experiencing homelessness apply for disability benefits. The VNA SOAR program has been successful in connecting clients to disability benefits in an average of 37 days. Recently, our agency received a referral for the SOAR program from a local domestic violence shelter. Through the SOAR model, we were able to help her obtain SSDI within 28 days. She was able to use her new income to secure an apartment for her and her two children. Additionally, since the mother was approved for SSDI, we facilitated dependent benefits for her two children in order to provide additional income. She was very anxious and overwhelmed about applying for disability benefits; however, through SOAR, we took the pressure of the application process off her. She was extremely appreciative of the SOAR program and we were more than happy to have been able to help during such a sensitive time."
What an incredible Success Story, Katie! When asked about a piece of advice Katie would give to case managers beginning to implement SOAR Katie shared, "[Do] not be afraid to reach out to those familiar with the process. When I first started, I frequently reached out to the SAMHSA SOAR TA Center and our local lead to ask questions. Don't be afraid to ask about Social Security forms, the process, or general questions. The SAMHSA SOAR TA Center staff is more than understanding, they've been there and done applications themselves, [and are a] great and friendly resource. Also, practice makes perfect, especially with the Medical Summary Reports. The SAMHSA SOAR TA Center will even review yours and give tips on how to make them stronger for your case."
The next SOARing Over Lunch Conference Call will take place April 9, 2019, at 1:00 p.m. ET! The SAMHSA SOAR TA Center hosts this series of informal monthly calls designed to help support SOAR efforts across the country. Participants can join to ask about any SOAR-related question they may have.
In this webinar, held Thursday, February 21, the SAMHSA SOAR TA Center shared new tools and resources for completing child SSI applications, including the new SOAR Online Course: Child Curriculum. SOAR Leaders discussed strategies and plans for implementing SOAR for Children initiatives in their communities. The slides from this webinar are now available for download.
SOAR Job Postings
City Net is seeking a full-time benefits specialist located in Santa Ana, California. The successful candidate will be responsible for providing assessment and support to individuals experiencing homelessness, helping them to create claims for different streams of government benefits, including SSI/SSDI.
Texas Homeless Network is seeking a full-time Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) Homeless SOAR Coordinator located in Austin, Texas. This project will increase the number of case managers in Texas that are processing SOAR applications.
The Virginia Beach Department of Human Services Behavioral Health Division, Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness (PATH)Team, is seeking a part-time PATH SOAR Clinician located in Virginia Beach, Virginia. The successful candidate will assist in outreach services to Virginia Beach citizens experiencing homelessness who may have a serious mental illness or co-occurring disorder.
Learn more about these positions, including how to apply, on the SOAR website!
Funding Corner: Foundation Funding for SOAR
An article in the February 2019 issue of Health Affairs journal highlighted several foundations that have and/or are currently providing funding for homelessness, housing, and healthcare-related causes. A number of these foundations sought to fund community projects and initiatives with goals to integrate various systems of care. Read more about the specific foundations highlighted and examples from funded projects here.
For more detailed information about these foundations and information on funding for SOAR programs, please contact Dan Coladonato, SAMHSA SOAR TA Center Liaison.
SAMHSA has issued a Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) to improve access by American Indians and Alaska Natives to treatment for substance use disorders that is scientifically sound and culturally informed. TIP 61 "Behavioral Health Services for American Indians and Alaska Natives" furthers SAMHSA's mission to advance the behavioral health of the nation and improve the lives of individuals living with mental and substance use disorders and their families.The guidance provided through TIP 61 offers the behavioral health field practical and culturally relevant approaches for delivering effective behavioral health services to American Indian and Alaska Native clients.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access, and Recovery (SOAR) Technical Assistance (TA) Center is sponsored by SAMHSA, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
Disclaimer: The SAMHSA SOAR Technical Assistance Center is sending this eNews 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.