Plus, new job postings and NOFAs!
Plus, new job postings and NOFAs!
2019 SAMHSA SOAR April eNews

April is National Social Security Month!

It's National Social Security Month and this year the Social Security Administration (SSA) is highlighting some of the time-saving features of the my Social Security account. Once you create an account, you'll see that SSA already has your work history and secure information to estimate what you could receive once you start collecting benefits. With your personal my Social Security account, you can also:
  • request a replacement Social Security card;
  • set up or change direct deposit;
  • get a proof of income letter;
  • change your address;
  • check the status of your Social Security application; and
  • get a Social Security 1099 form (SSA-1099).

For over 80 years, SSA has worked to meet the changing needs of the American public. Today, you can apply for retirement, disability, and Medicare benefits online, as well as take care of other business.
Celebrate National Social Security Month by learning what you can do online anytime, anywhere at
Little Rock SOAR Leadership Academy Graduates

March Little Rock SOAR Leadership Academy Recap

From March 19-21, 2019, the SAMHSA SOAR Technical Assistance (TA) Center facilitated a SOAR Leadership Academy in Little Rock, Arkansas. Abigail Kirkman, Dazara Ware, Amanda Starkey, and Daniel Coladonato of the SAMHSA SOAR TA Center facilitated the training. There were 33 participants representing 19 states (AR, CA, CO, FL, IL, KY, LA, MD, MA, MO, NV, NH, NM, NY, NC, OR, TN, WV, and WY). There were enthusiastic participation and genuine warmth throughout the entire 3 days of training. This was a testament to our new Local Leads' commitment to learning how to use SOAR to achieve our goals of ending homelessness. We're excited to see you SOAR!

Celebrate National Public Health Week with the SAMHSA SOAR TA Center

We celebrated National Public Health Week at the beginning of April (April 1-7, 2019)! Like our partners and providers around the country, the SAMHSA SOAR TA Center is helping to raise awareness of how homelessness impacts public health. This year's annual theme, coordinated by the American Public Health Association, was "Creating the Healthiest Nation: For science. For action. For health." The theme focused on how we can work together to make sure that we live a long and healthy life in a safe environment.
The great work you do each day in using the SOAR program to increase access to income and health insurance has a dramatic impact on our efforts to end homelessness so we can change our future together. The SAMHSA SOAR TA Center encourages you to use National Public Health Week as a catalyst for taking one extra step towards ending homelessness in your community. No matter how big or small, if we all take a single step together, we'll get there!

Sharing Our Successes

SOARing Home in Independence, Kansas

Jonathan Pendergrass of Four County Mental Health Center in Independence, Kansas wrote in to share this incredible success story:
"A program participant, we'll call Abe, has lived a life of extreme poverty and chronic homelessness. He has slept in abandoned houses or garages with no heat source. His case manager referred him to the SOAR program in mid-2018, and we were able to meet once before he went missing for several weeks. I received a phone call from one of our medical providers stating that Abe had been without his much-needed shots and had missed all of his appointments. I utilized the little information I had from the first meeting and managed to locate him in a town 45 minutes away that happened to still be in my catchment area. Without breaching confidentiality, I left my name and number at a place he was thought to frequent. That same week he reached out to me, and I was able to get him back to his medical appointments, connect him with a new case manager, and move forward with his SOAR case, eventually being approved and put into pay status at the beginning of this year.
The SOAR model worked out exactly as it was designed to do. Abe was given a homeless flag at SSA, which granted him an expedited route to food, medical attention, and a roof over his head. [Through these benefits,] Abe was able to afford to rent a room from someone in town. He will be using his back pay to get a new bicycle and clothes along with many other things he has never had a chance to own, such as a TV. Abe is a SOAR success!"
What an incredible success story, Jonathan! Thank you for sharing this SOAR success. When asked about what words of wisdom Jonathan would share with new SOAR practitioners, Jonathan said, "I would tell all new SOAR practitioners that you serve a special population that would normally have their cases thrown out along with any hope of a stable living environment due to their unique needs. This is where SOAR comes in! You can meet them in their environment and build a relationship. SOAR is truly changing lives year after year, and you are all to thank for that!"
Submit Your SOAR Success!
*Sharing Our Successes stories have been edited for brevity and clarity. All client names have been changed to protect anonymity.


SOAR Webinar: Getting Started Completing SOAR-assisted SSI/SSDI Applications

April 11, 2019, 3:00-4:30 p.m. ET
Join the SAMHSA SOAR TA Center to learn tips from SOAR Local Leads and providers on how to get started on your first SOAR-assisted Supplemental Security Income (SSI)/Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) applications. This webinar will give you many practical and proven ideas to help you get started on completing successful SOAR-assisted SSI/SSDI applications! Don't forget to invite your colleagues who have completed SOAR training and may be struggling with getting started too. Encourage them to register for this webinar so you can work together on submitting quality SOAR-assisted SSI/SSDI applications!
Register for the Webinar

SOARing Over Lunch Conference Calls

May 14, 2019; 1:00 p.m. ET
The next SOARing Over Lunch Conference Call will take place on May 14, 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.
Add SOARing Over Lunch to Your Calendar

SOAR Job Postings


Lifewell Behavioral Wellness is seeking a full-time SOAR Specialist based in Phoenix, Arizona. The successful candidate will increase access to SSI/SSDI for eligible members by providing in-depth community support to members during the application process.


City Net is seeking a full-time benefits specialist based in Santa Ana, California. The successful candidate will be responsible for providing assessment and support to homeless individuals, helping them to create claims for different streams of government benefits, including SSI/SSDI.
Learn more about these positions, including how to apply, on the SOAR website!

Funding Corner

HUD Releases Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program NOFA

Application deadline: May 15, 2019
On March 14, 2019, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released the "Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program" Notice of Funding Availability. The purpose of this program is for communities to develop and execute a coordinated community approach to preventing and ending youth homelessness. The Notice of Funding Availability encourages Continua of Care to reach out and partner with "a comprehensive set of traditional and non-traditional youth homelessness stakeholders that provide youth with resources and services." HUD will select 25 communities to participate in this program, of which 8 will be rural communities. The estimated total program funding is $75,000,000.
For more details about the HUD NOFA, including additional information on eligibility, visit HUD Exchange's webpage on the Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program.

VA Releases Grant and Per Diem (GPD) Case Management NOFA

Application deadline: May 20, 2019
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced the availability of funds to eligible entities to provide time-limited case management services to improve the retention of housing by Veterans who were previously homeless and are transitioning to permanent housing from programs, such as VA's Homeless Providers GPD Program or VA's Healthcare for Homeless Veterans Contracted Residential Services Program. The NOFA, application materials, and an online training that describes the NOFA contents and application process may be found at VA's Homeless Veterans GPD page.

Federal Updates

VA Releases Update to the Income and Benefits Calculator

In March, the VA released an updated Income and Benefits Calculator, a tool that demonstrates how income from employment and/or VA disability benefits will affect SSI or SSDI. This update added 2019 Federal Benefit Rates and enables beneficiaries to use the calculator throughout 2019 and beyond. We'd love to hear how you are using the calculator to help individuals explore employment and maximize their income!

Social Security and OIG Launch Public Service Announcement Campaign

SSA and its Office of the Inspector General (OIG) launched a joint Public Service Announcement (PSA) campaign addressing a nationwide telephone impersonation scheme. Social Security and the OIG continue to receive reports from across the country about fraudulent phone calls from people falsely claiming to be Social Security employees. Calls can even "spoof" Social Security's national customer service number as the incoming number on the caller ID. The new PSAs will air on TV and radio stations across the country to alert the public to remain vigilant against potential fraud.
"We urge you to always be cautious and to avoid providing sensitive information, such as your Social Security number or bank account information to unknown people over the phone or Internet," said Nancy A. Berryhill, Acting Commissioner of Social Security. "If you receive a call and are not expecting one, you must be extra careful–you can always get the caller's information, hang up, and contact the official phone number of the business or agency the caller claims to represent. Do not reveal personal data to a stranger who calls you."
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