SOAR eNewsletter - June 2014

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June 2014

Hot off the Press!
New Issue Brief:
Effective SOAR Representation
for Social Security Appeals

Despite your best efforts as a SOAR practitioner, applications you submit for SSI/SSDI may be denied. Or, perhaps you are involved with an applicant whose appeal is already pending with the SSA. SOAR practitioners are often well positioned to assist with Social Security appeals given their relationships with applicants and knowledge of their impairments and related functional limitations. Pam Heine, the SOAR TA Center’s subject matter expert on appeals, has developed an informative issue brief on the topic. This issue brief covers information that providers need to know in order to understand the SSA appeals process, gain insight to why claims are denied and what to do when the deadline to file an appeal is missed. This issue brief also describes how SOAR practitioners who handle SSI/SSDI claims at the hearing level can do their applicants a great service by submitting a properly documented On the Record (OTR) request.
The issue brief is available on the SOAR website at

SOAR Leadership Academy: Moving Forward

The Leadership Academy is an opportunity to change and strengthen the roles of state and local leads from one of training to one of sustainability, support, quality review and tracking outcomes. On May 6 -8, 2014, the latest SOAR Leadership Academy was held in Baltimore, Maryland. Twelve states were represented by 22 participants, including State Team Leads, SOAR Disability Coordinators, and CoC coordinators. The Leadership Academy provides local leads with the tools needed to support SOAR initiatives in their localities. This was the third Leadership Academy hosted by the TA Center. Our next SOAR Leadership Academy will be held September 10 - 12, 2014, in Pittsburgh, PA. Please contact the SOAR TA Center or your State Team Lead if you are interested in attending.
Attendees at Baltimore Leadership Academy

Sharing Our Successes

SOAR News and Accomplishments
Maryland - Kecia Daniels’ patience and perseverance is an example of how SOAR can help to stabilize families. She writes, “My second SOAR applicant was a 19 year old young lady experiencing homelessness whose symptoms made it difficult to help her. She would start her case and then ‘fire me.’ She moved out of the area 3 times to always later call me for help. This final time she called me the day after Christmas after having given birth in October. I was able to help her and her child into the homeless shelter and started her SOAR case again! In March she was approved for SSI and Medicaid and she is now in a stable environment with her son. Her representative payee helps her maintain her psychiatric appointments and her son is thriving with community supports in place. This young lady thought to be a lost cause, but turned out to be my first success story.” Great work Kecia! Thank you for sharing.
Colorado - Colorado Disability Benefits Support Program (DBS) is a nonprofit agency that serves as the Colorado SOAR State Lead Agency. Peter Pike, Executive Director, reports that they have had great success securing funding for SOAR from State and local governments.
DBS has partnered with the Colorado Office of Behavioral Health to secure funding from the Cooperative Agreement to Benefit Homeless Individuals and will be contracted to provide SOAR services for this program. As well, the agency will be entering their second contract year with Jefferson County Human Services to provide SSI/SSDI application assistance for individuals receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families using the SOAR model.
Colorado legislators recently passed SB14-012 called Aid to Needy Disabled (AND) that funds up to $250,000 to pilot SOAR SSI application assistance in three local counties. Finally, HB 11-1216 allows the state to auction off the registration rights to specific license plate letter and number combinations and stipulates that revenue from the auction will be used to fund organizations that provide SSI/SSDI and long term Medicaid application assistance.
If you have a SOAR-related success story to share, e-mail
SOAR Learning Community Calls
SOAR Learning Community Calls focus on the administrative aspects of running a SOAR program. Those interested in improving their SOAR outcomes are encouraged to attend. The first two calls on Steering Committees and Funding and Sustainability were recorded and all materials can be accessed here:
Our next Learning Community Call, Supporting Quality Applications, will be held on Tuesday, July 22 3-4:30 p.m. EDT. SOAR TA Center staff will offer successful models for quality review of SOAR assisted SSI/SSDI applications from around the country including use of the Application Review Rubric, MSR review, case review meetings, outcomes reports and the SOAR TA Center Liaisons. A guided activity will be completed to practice/review quality review skills. This call is intended for individuals who actively work on SOAR assisted SSI/SSDI applications or those who support or supervise SOAR trained caseworkers. You can register here:

Social Security Administration (SSA) Updates

May 7, 2014 - Acting Commissioner Carolyn W. Colvin was the keynote at a Capitol Hill presentation by SSA executives on the Disability Program. This presentation provided an opportunity for Congressional staff to learn about disability programs. The briefing was a huge success, with appearances by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Wyden and Ranking Member Hatch, as well as Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee Chairman Johnson and Ranking Member Becerra. To view the agenda for the event and the presentation slides, click here:

Upcoming Center Events

SOAR Learning Community Calls
Supporting Quality Applications, Tuesday, July 22, 3:00-4:30 p.m. (EDT) Register Here
Upcoming SOAR Leadership Academies
September 10-12, 2014 in Pittsburgh, PA
Please contact the SOAR TA Center or your State Team Lead if you are interested in attending.

Senate Apropriations Committee 2015 budget for CPD programs

Please recall that the Congress as a whole has to act on the T-HUD budget and that the House bill was not as generous to most (but not all) CPD programs as is the Senate version described below. 

Senate T-HUD FY 2015 Spending Bill In-Depth: Community Development Programs

On June 6, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved its version of the FY 2015 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (T-HUD) appropriations bill (S. 2438).  The bill includes $45.8 billion for HUD programs, $3.2 billion more than was provided for FY 2014. Today’s Direct News item is intended to provide NAHRO members with a comprehensive summary of the Senate bill’s treatment of Community Planning and Development programs, including Community Development Block Grants, the HOME Investment Partnerships program, and homeless assistance grants.
NAHRO’s earlier analysis of the Senate bill’s treatment of Section 8 programs and Public Housing programs is available online.  Click here for a chart comparing the funding levels in S. 2438 to FY 2014 enacted levels, the President’s FY 2015 budget proposal, the House-passed FY 2015 T-HUD bill, and NAHRO’s FY 2015 funding recommendations, respectively.
Community Development Fund and Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program
Community Development Block Grants
S. 2438 provides $3.09 billion for the Community Development Fund, with $3.02 billion made available for the CDBG Program. This funding level for CDBG is $220 million above the President’s request, and $10 million below the FY 2014 enacted level. The bill provides $40 million less for CDBG compared to the House-passed T-HUD bill, which cleared the House on June 10.  Within the Senate bill is language that, according appropriators, aims to “ensure the program remains flexible, but also accountable and transparent.” The bill retains an existing provision that prohibits any community from “selling” its CDBG award to another community and adopts a new requirement that stipulates that “any funding provided to a for-profit entity for an economic development project funded under this bill undergo appropriate underwriting.” The Senate bill continues language, first proposed by NAHRO, requiring HUD to notify grantees of their formula allocations within 60 days of enactment of the Act.  The House-passed bill also retains this provision.
Indian Community Block Grant Program
The Senate bill sets aside $70 million for the Indian Community Development Block Grant program, $10 million above the House level. The Senate also designates $10 million of that funding for mold remediation and prevention in Native American housing, to be awarded through a single national competition.
Section 108 Community Development Loan Guarantee
The Senate bill once again adopts the administration’s request to shift Section 108 to a fee-based program under which HUD would be authorized to collect fees from Section 108 borrowers in amounts that would result in a credit subsidy cost of zero.  The bill would also raise the loan guarantee limit to $500 million, an increase strongly supported by NAHRO.  The House-passed bill also adopts the administration’s proposal.
The FY 2014 omnibus appropriations act provided $3 million in direct appropriated funding for Section 108 credit subsidy costs, but also authorized HUD to collect fees from borrowers, with the collection fees and funding available to subsidize a total loan principle of no more than $150 million.
HOME Investment Partnerships Program
The Senate bill provides $950 million for the HOME program, $50 million below the FY 2014 enacted level and equal to the President’s request. The Senate amount is also $350 million above the House bill, which slashes the HOME account to $700 million, a figure that would represent by far the lowest funding level in the program’s history. This historically low level of HOME funding in the House bill would be further exacerbated by a $10 million set-aside to fund the Self-Help and Assisted Homeownership (SHOP) Program, as proposed by the Administration. The Senate bill rejects the proposed SHOP set-aside and provides $10 million for SHOP through a separate line item.
The Senate bill accepts certain provisions requested in the President’s budget related to the HOME program. One provision allows statewide nonprofits to be designated as Community Housing Development Organizations (CHDOs), so that less populous States will have more organizations to serve the entire State. The bill also includes a provision that creates an exception to the 30-day eviction notice “in instances where a tenant poses a threat,” an exception that is found in other housing assistance programs and a revision to the HOME program long supported by NAHRO and other industry groups.
Self-Help and Assisted Homeownership Opportunity Program (SHOP)
For the Shop Program the Senate provides funding at $50 million, equal to the FY 2014 enacted level. Under this account, $10 million is appropriated towards SHOP, while $35 million is provided for the Section 4 Capacity Building program, and $5 million is provided to carry out capacity building activities within rural communities.
Homeless Assistance Grants
The FY 2015 Senate bill includes $2.145 billion for Homeless Assistance Grants, $40 million above both the FY 2014 enacted level and the level provided under FY 2015 House-passed bill, but short of the President’s budget request of $2.406 billion.
Within this account, the Senate bill makes at least $1.848 billion available for the Continuum of Care (CoC) Program, including the renewal of existing projects, $48 million above the amount provide for under the FY 2015 House-passed bill. The Senate bill also makes at least $250 million available for the emergency solutions grants program (ESG), equal to the FY 2014 enacted level and $50 million above the House-passed bill. The Senate bill does not provide funding for new permanent supportive housing, but does stipulate that if funds remain available in this account after fulfilling renewal demands and funding ESG, “HUD may use it for new projects, provided that such projects are targeted to areas with greatest need, as measured by homeless data.” To support the Annual Homeless Assessment Report, the Senate bill provides $7 million for data analysis and technical assistance.  The Senate-passed bill does not include designated funding for the Rural Housing Stability Assistance program, a new program authorized by the HEARTH Act of 2009 but never implemented by HUD due to lack of funding.  The House-passed bill designates $10 million for the rural program.
Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA)
The Senate bill provides $330 million for the HOPWA program, $2 million below the both the House bill and the President’s budget, but equal to the FY 2014 enacted level. Senate appropriators acknowledge that the HOPWA statute requires an “update to the funding formula to target limited resources to communities most impacted by HIV” and encourages HUD to engage in legislative reauthorization proposal activities.

HOME Monthly Reports Now Posted

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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

HOME Monthly Reports Now Posted

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The HOME Program's Monthly reports are now posted on the OneCPD Resource Exchange at the links below. You may also access them from the HOME Program Resource Page under "HOME Reports."
Monthly Reports as of 5/31/14 Now Available:
Monthly Reports as of 6/9/14 Now Available: