Affordable Care Act Website of the Week: February 10-14, 2014

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Affordable Care Act Website of the Week: February 10-14, 2014

The Kaiser Family Foundation is a non-profit foundation focusing on the major health care issues facing the United States. Kaiser develops and runs its own research, journalism, and communications programs and serves as a non-partisan source of facts, information, analysis, and journalism for policymakers, the media, the health care community, and the public.
The Kaiser Family Foundation Health Reform Website has extensive information about health reform and about implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
The main page of the website includes these links:
The website front page includes an interactive map with regularly updated state-by-state information on Health Insurance Exchanges (Marketplaces), which will provide information on and access to affordable commercial insurance options for people unable to access Medicaid. If an applicant appears to qualify for Medicaid or CHIP coverage, the same application via the marketplace exchange will alert both the individual applicant and the state Medicaid Agency so that Medicaid enrollment can be initiated.
The Kaiser Family Foundation Medicaid webpage offers key information on Medicaid outreach and enrollment strategies and the latest information about state Medicaid expansion decisions. A companion website provides extensive, detailed information and data about each state's Medicaid and CHIP programs.
For more information, please visit HUD's OneCPD Affordable Care Act website
  • Every state has a Health Insurance Marketplace that functions as a portal to health coverage.
  • Some states have elected to operate their own Marketplace, others to be served by a Marketplace operated by the federal government, and still others to share some responsibilities in partnership with the federal Marketplace.
  • The Marketplaces are intended to facilitate access to affordable healthcare coverage for people with incomes below 400% of the federal poverty level (FPL) in every state (even in those that have elected not to expand Medicaid coverage to people with incomes below 138% of the FPL).
  • In addition, in all states people who are currently eligible for the legacy Medicaid program can be identified and referred for Medicaid enrollment by the Marketplace, without regard to the states' decisions about Medicaid coverage expansion.
  • The federal government is funding specialized outreach and enrollment assistance in every state.
*Because of possible new insurance options, and the increase in access to enrollment for many clients, it is essential that housing and services providers use the information available on websites such as to familiarize themselves with the Health Marketplace options in their state, and develop a plan to assist their constituents to obtain Medicaid or affordable health insurance coverage.

Reminder: IDIS for HOME State PJs Training in Atlanta, GA

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U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Community Planning Development OneCPD Mailing List
Developing Viable Communities through Housing, Services, & Economic Opportunities

Reminder: IDIS for HOME State PJs Training in Atlanta, GA

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) Office of Affordable Housing Programs is pleased to announce that there will be 25 New HOME IDIS trainings offered at HUD Field Offices in every Region between October 2013 through June 2014. Training for CDBG IDIS will also be forthcoming and will require separate registration.

Please note that two individuals per grantee will be allowed to register and attend a training session.
Atlanta, GA
February 27, 2014
8:30 AM - 4:30 PM EST
For more information and to view other training locations, visit the IDIS for HOME PJs Training News page.
Instructions on how to register are available in the OneCPD Learn User Guide.
Please note that submitting a registration request does not guarantee you a seat at the training. You will receive a confirmation email if you are accepted into the training.

Training Opportunity at Eastern Region Supportive Housing Conference

Pre-Conference Training on Targeting & Coordinated Access
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Pre-Conference Training Institute
Prioritizing Supportive Housing:
Targeting and Coordinated Assessment

March 27
1:00 to 5:00 pm

Communities across the country are being asked to create systems that match people experiencing homelessness to the right intervention and target their supportive housing units to those that need them most. This 4-hour, interactive training session will help community partners understand how supportive housing can be targeted effectively and efficiently, including using a coordinated access system. Participants will engage in an interactive discussion that covers best-practices for both supportive housing and coordinated access, while discovering how to determine who is appropriate for supportive housing. Attendees will also take away real-life examples of how this has worked in other communities and steps to implement back home.

Limited space is available for this training - be sure to register early!
Cost - $75 with Conference Registration, $100 for training only

CSH Eastern Region Supportive Housing Conference
March 27-28
DoubleTree by Hilton, Philadelphia Center City
237 South Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107

Don’t delay, register today!

Sponsorship and exhibitor opportunities are still available! Find out more here
For general information requests, email

Upcoming: Google Hangout and Twitter Town Hall

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U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Community Planning Development OneCPD Mailing List
Developing Viable Communities through Housing, Services, & Economic Opportunities

Upcoming: Google Hangout and Twitter Town Hall

Please join and share this information on the February 5th, 2014 Google Hangout on African American health.

Join the Google Hangout Today, February 5, 2014 at 3 pm ET, to watch Secretary Sebelius sit down with Shavon Arline from the NAACP to discuss African American Health.

Also, please watch for more information about a Twitter Town Hall to take place on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 12 pm ET. The theme is “How do we end the HIV epidemic in Black America?”

For more information on the Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDS (HOPWA) program, visit the HOPWA Program page on the OneCPD Resource Exchange.

SOAR eNews - February 2014

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SOAR Logo, eNews Masthead Graphic
February 2014

New Focus for SOAR TA Center: Leadership Academy

The SOAR TA Center will facilitate its first Leadership Academy in Atlanta, GA, on February 4-6, 2014. The 3-day SOAR Leadership Academy (LA) will prepare individuals to be SOAR Local Leads whose roles will complement those of SOAR Trainers and State Team Leads. LA participants will learn how to build and sustain SOAR within their community and support and mentor trainees who successfully complete the new SOAR Online Course. Expectations of Local Leads include:
  • Conduct 6-hour SOAR Fundamentals refresher trainings to individuals who have successfully completed the SOAR Online Course
  • Hold monthly SOAR Steering Committee meetings to address systems-level issues
  • Facilitate monthly meetings with trainees to answer their questions as they assist others with SSI/SSDI applications
  • Work closely with the SOAR State Team Lead, Trainers, and SOAR TA Center to implement SOAR in their community
A note to current SOAR Trainers: Stay tuned for information about webinars and calls geared specifically to Trainers about this new SOAR direction. The SOAR TA Center will continue to support your efforts to provide two-day Stepping Stones to Recovery trainings, but if you would like to expand your role, we will have options for you to do so in a series of Learning Community calls or by attending an in-person Leadership Academy (LA). Please contact your State Team Lead if you are interested in an LA spot.

Sharing Our Successes

SOAR News and Accomplishments
Atlanta, GA: Congratulations to Sherry McGlown on the approval of her first application! Sherry is a Medicaid Entitlement Specialist with the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities. Sherry advised the SOAR TA Center, “Just so you know, I revised the first summary I sent to the TA Center, and yesterday the DAS adjudicator informed me that it is approved for presumptive disability!” Way to go Sherry!
Oklahoma, WV: Yvonne Jackson writes: “In 2012 when I worked for Family and Children Services, I attended the SOAR training so that I could help our clients apply for SSI/SSDI. My dad who is a veteran and who has had a lot of medical issues was thinking about applying for SSDI. He was making the common mistake of going to [instead of] and almost called a lawyer. I told him not to do anything, and that I would help him complete his application. We started the process in June and within 3-4 months he got approved. If I had not gotten the SOAR training, I would not have felt confident enough to help him apply, and he would have had to hire an attorney because my parents would have gotten frustrated with the process.”
Cheyenne, WY: Jessica Fancher shared a few creative training activities she developed during our last SOAR Trainers Alumni Group (TAG) call. Based on the popular TV game show Family Feud, Jessica developed a fun way to test participants’ understanding of the material after each module. Jessica made the Stepping Stones to Recovery training video more interactive by having participants use the "Interview with Andrea" to complete an SSI application during the training. Jessica is developing a handout describing each activity's steps and guidelines that will be shared at our next TAG call.
If you have a SOAR-related success story to share, email
Consider SOAR State E-Newsletters to Promote Success!
The SOAR TA Center is not alone in the effort to promote SOAR success stories using electronic newsletters. Creativity abounds across the country with newsletters that are interesting, informative and humorous! Many states use monthly newsletters to broadcast announcements, offer training tips, and provide updates to their SOAR communities. Julia Welle Ayres (MN), often injects humor to get her message out, while Jessica Fancher (WY) uses inspirational quotes of encouragement and recipes of chocolaty goodness to hook readers. Maryland, Illinois, and Michigan also use newsletters to keep their SOAR communities informed. If your state issues newsletters, please share them with the SOAR TA Center. We’d love to hear from you! Email us at

Social Security Updates

Social Security Administration (SSA) Announces New Compassionate Allowances Conditions
In January, SSA announced 25 new Compassionate Allowances conditions, including a dozen cancers. This brings the total number of conditions to 225. The Compassionate Allowances program identifies claims where the applicant’s disease or condition clearly meets Social Security’s statutory standard for disability. To date, almost 200,000 people with severe disabilities have been approved through this fast-track disability process.
“We are dedicated to providing vulnerable Americans with faster access to disability benefits through our Compassionate Allowances program,” said Acting Commissioner Carolyn Colvin. “Social Security disability benefits are a vital lifeline for individuals who are facing severe diseases and we must ensure that they receive the benefits they rightly deserve.”
For more information on the program, including a list of all Compassionate Allowances conditions, please visit
Social Security Online Application Process Revision
How to apply for “disability” for an adult has changed on SSA’s website: Beginning January 25, 2014, there is no longer an online “Adult Disability Report” but rather an SSA web page titled: “Apply Online for Disability Benefits.” The “Adult Disability Report” and “Filing for Disability Benefits” will no longer be separate websites. The goal of the changes to SSA’s website is to create a seamless pathway for online customers to file for disability benefits via a single access point.
Here’s how it will work:
  • Start applying: Online disability applicants will first complete the “iClaim”(the SSDI application or SSA-16) before receiving the i3368 (also known as the “Adult Disability Report”) screens.
  • Exiting and re-entering the application: Claimants will receive one re-entry number to restart, complete, and submit the iClaim and i3368. The re-entry number is an eight-digit numeric code. The re-entry number replaces the prior “application” number for iClaim. Claimants who started but did not submit an iClaim or i3368 prior to 1/25/2014 will be redirected to their iClaim or i3368 upon re-entry. First or third party status can be changed when reentering the i3368.
  • Reduce data-entry: Some information from the iClaim will auto-populate the i3368, but information edited in the i3368 will not impact the iClaim.
  • Third party applications will NOT receive a confirmation number!
If you have any questions, please contact your SOAR TA Center liaison, your State Team Lead, or your local Social Security office for more information
Elimination of SSN Printouts and Benefit Verification Letters Implementation Postponed
The Social Security Administration announced in December 2013 that the agency would be phasing out two field office services: (1) Social Security Number printouts (“SSN printouts”) and (2) benefit verification letters. The tentative new rollout dates are June/July for the elimination of SSN printouts and Sept/Oct for the elimination of benefit verification letters. These dates will replace the previously announced February 1 "soft rollout" start date.

Upcoming SOAR TA Center Events

The SOAR TA Center will be holding its first Leadership Academy (LA) on February 4-6, 2014 in Atlanta, GA. Although the LA scheduled for March 4-6 in Phoenix, AZ is full, three others are planned: May 6-8, Baltimore, MD; June 3-5, Portland, OR; and Sept. 10-12, Pittsburgh, PA. Please contact the SOAR TA Center or your State Team Lead if you are interested in attending.

Webinar Announcement: Apply to the Intervention Model in Your Community's Response

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Developing Viable Communities through Housing, Services, & Economic Opportunities

Webinar Announcement: Apply to the Intervention Model in Your Community's Response

Ending youth homelessness requires partnership and coordinated efforts in communities and at every level of government. USICH's Federal Framework to End Youth Homelessness is a resource text for dialogue and action toward ending youth homelessness together.
The framework includes a Preliminary Intervention Model, designed to help communities identify the systems and capacity necessary to meet the needs of all youth experiencing homelessness. On February 13, 2014 at 3:00 p.m. ET, please join the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) and the Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS), Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and Education (ED) for a webinar on the Preliminary Intervention Model.
This Model was developed with two, complementary commitments:
  1. Using the best available scientific evidence from research involving youth experiencing homelessness to guide the contents of the model
  2. Incorporating a risk and protective factors perspective into understanding the diversity of youth experiencing homelessness
The Model targets specific changes in the life of a young person experiencing homelessness that increase the likelihood of getting the youth to positive core outcomes. Learn more about the intervention model and how we can work together to end youth homelessness.
Register for the Preliminary Intervention Model Webinar on Thursday, February 13 at 3:00pm ET.
Learn more about this webinar and the Federal Framework to end youth homelessness.

545 Families Housed During Housing Challenge

February 4, 2014    

ISSUES  |  POLICY  |  SOLUTIONS  |  NEWS & EVENTS Forward Editor: Emanuel Cavallaro

Spotlight On...
545 Families Housed During Housing Challenge

As part of a 100 Day Rapid Re-Housing Challenge, 31 organizations working with the Alliance have housed 545 families in Virginia in just 100 days. The Alliance's capacity-building experts have been working with the organizations as part of its Learning Collaborative Initiative since October 17, 2013 in an effort to assist them in placing as many homeless families as possible in permanent housing. The 545 families housed represent a 52 percent increase in the rate of re-housing among these organizations compared to rates before the challenge.

President Touches on Homelessness, Income Inequality in State of the Union
Last Tuesday, January 28, President Obama delivered the 2014 State of the Union address. In his speech, the President urged congress to address issues including income inequality, economic mobility, and skills training. It is noteworthy to mention that in his speech, the President specifically referred to homelessness as an issue that the Administration is partnering with mayors, governors, and state legislators across the country to address. He also emphasized the importance of homeownership and preventing housing crises.

If you need to cancel your registration you must submit your cancellation in writing to Alliance Development and Administrative Associate Jennifer Olney by Friday, February 15, in order to receive a refund minus a $100 processing fee and a $25 cancellation fee. The Alliance will not grant refunds for cancellations received after that deadline.
Judging by early developments in 2014, those of us who are working to end chronic homelessness have reason to be optimistic. In this post, we discuss two promising developments and note the challenges advocates have ahead of them.
Check Out This Game That Shows How a Homeless Assistance System Works
By Anna Blasco
It is one thing to hear something is effective, but sometimes you need to see something to believe it. That is why in this post we are reintroducing our Homeless System Simulation Game, which simulates how a homelessness assistance system works. For those of you joining us in New Orleans for our Conference, we will be playing the Homeless System Simulation Game on Monday, February 17.

Affordable Care Act Enrollment Tips

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U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Community Planning Development OneCPD Mailing List
Developing Viable Communities through Housing, Services, & Economic Opportunities

Affordable Care Act Enrollment Tips

People who think they may qualify for private health insurance coverage through the health insurance Marketplace in their state have until February 15, 2014 to enroll and select a plan for coverage starting March 1, 2014. Individuals living in the continental United States (income levels differ for Alaska and Hawaii) who make between $11,490 and $45,960 may qualify for lower premiums on a Marketplace insurance plan.  
Some individuals, particularly those experiencing homelessness or those living with HIV/AIDS, may be eligible for the Medicaid program in their state. People can apply for Medicaid at any point; there is no open enrollment period. People can apply by contacting their state Medicaid program directly or by filling out an application through the Marketplace in their state. 
Visit HUD’s OneCPD Affordable Care Act website for more information.