SOAR eNews - July 2014

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July 2014

Hot off the Press!
New Issue Brief:
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for Children:
Determining Childhood Disability

With the increase in family homelessness, many practitioners are beginning to work with children and families. Although the SOAR approach is focused on adults with disabilities who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness, SOAR practitioners have asked for basic information to help them understand the disability determination process for children. This issue brief busts myths about children and SSI benefits, explains the sequential evaluation for children's SSI claims, and provides useful tips for assisting with applications.
The issue brief is available on the SOAR website at

SOAR Leadership Academy: Moving Forward

The fourth SOAR Leadership Academy was held June 3-5 in Portland, Oregon! We welcomed 25 new SOAR Local Leads from 16 states.

USICH Request for Feedback on Opening Doors

Four years ago, the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) launched Opening Doors, the first Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness. They documented that in the first three years of implementation, the plan resulted in an eight percent reduction in homelessness among families, a 16 percent reduction in chronic homelessness, and a 24 percent reduction in homelessness among Veterans. USICH is currently looking for feedback on how to strengthen Opening Doors. We know our SOAR providers nationwide have valuable ideas and have developed best practices in ending homelessness. We encourage you to share those with USICH at by August 8, 2014.

Sharing Our Successes

SOAR News and Accomplishments
Utah UTAH - Utah brought together over 130 individuals from more than 30 partner agencies for their first statewide SOAR Summit on June 12th. SOAR State Team Lead Brian Prettyman organized the Summit, which included a SOAR refresher training, inspirational stories from formerly homeless individuals who were helped through SOAR, presentations by SSA and DDS, and a keynote speech by Lloyd Pendleton, who emphasized how SOAR, Housing First, and employment supports can end chronic homelessness.
MarylandMaryland - Maryland held their first annual SOAR Conference on June 20th with over 100 SOAR practitioners, partners, and local leads coming together from across the state. SOAR State Leads Marian Bland and Caroline Bolas were honored for their outstanding contributions to the Maryland State SOAR Initiative, their dedication to expanding SOAR across the state, building the capacity of local SOAR leaders, and making Maryland one of the top statewide SOAR initiatives in the country.
Birmingham, AL - Keyana Lewis, SSI/SSDI Application Specialist with One Roof recently attended an invitation only meeting with Acting Social Security Administration Commissioner, Carolyn W. Colvin. She reports, "I was contacted by Mr. Jim Methvin of the Disability Determination Services regarding an invite alongside 29 others to meet with Commissioner Carolyn Colvin of the Social Security Administration. Though I was on maternity leave, this was an invite I could not refuse. On April 8, 2014, our Executive Director, Michelle Farley and I gathered with others for an hour long meeting with Commissioner Colvin and other very important people from the local and regional offices. The meeting was informative, and I was able to voice opinions about my experience with the local office, how much I have been helped by important contacts at the Disability Determination Office, and my concerns regarding how up and coming changes will affect homeless persons. It was great to meet Commissioner Colvin and to be thanked for the work that I do for the homeless community through SOAR!"
If you have a SOAR-related success story to share, e-mail

Social Security Administration (SSA) Updates

Social Security Defines Policy for Same-Sex Married Couples - Social Security published new instructions that allow the agency to process more claims in which entitlement or eligibility is affected by a same-sex relationship. This latest policy development lets the agency recognize some non-marital legal relationships as marriages for determining entitlement to benefits. These instructions also allow Social Security to begin processing many claims in states that do not recognize same-sex marriages or non-marital legal relationships. The new policy also addresses Supplemental Security Income claims based on same-sex relationships.
For more information, please visit
Social Security Leads Efforts to Improve Customer Service across Federal Government - The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has published the plan for the Customer Service Cross-Agency Priority (CAP) Goal on the website, which is being led by Acting SSA Commissioner Carolyn W. Colvin. Highlights of the plan include:
  • An online and in-person network that federal employees anywhere can join and share ideas and tools for improving customer satisfaction
  • A nationwide award program for teams and individuals who excel at customer service
  • A better way to improve transparency and measure customer
For more information on the CAP goal, please visit:

Upcoming Center Events

SOAR Learning Community Calls
Supporting Quality Applications, Tuesday, July 22, 3:00-4:30 p.m. (EDT)
Looking for ways to strengthen the quality of SSI/SSDI applications in your community? Join us to learn how SOAR programs nationwide are using quality review techniques to increase approval rates and decrease processing time for SSI/SSDI applications using the SOAR model! 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.

The SOAR TA Center is sponsored by the
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Disclaimer: The SOAR Technical Assistance Center develops and distributes E-News 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.

Baltimore County HMIS News 7/16/2014

Listed below are recent HMIS news and updates.  As always, we are very grateful for your continued support.  Your efforts assist us with providing the necessary awareness, collaboration, and funding opportunities for our current/future programs!  If you have any questions and/or concerns, please contact Team HMIS at 410-887-5968.  We're always glad to assist!

HMIS Program Liaison (Samantha Just) - As many of you are aware, we recently celebrated Sam's one year anniversary with Team HMIS!  She has consistently demonstrated outstanding work ethic, dedication, and drive.  Sam's invaluable services help ensure Baltimore County's HMIS remains the most innovative and highest performing in our region.  Thank you, Sam!!!

HMIS Support Request Totals (FY14) - To view this story, please click on the "NEWS" link on our website. 

APR and HMIS Refresher for Housing Providers (ES, TH, PSH) - To view this story, please click on the "NEWS" link on our website.

Website Updates - To view this story, please click on the "NEWS" link on our website. 

Monthly HMIS Online Report Card - To view this story, please click on the "NEWS" link on our website. 

Jason Burns, MCSE
HMIS System Administrator
Baltimore County Dept of Planning
105 W Chesapeake Ave, Ste 201
Towson, Maryland 21204
Office: (410) 887-5968
*Submit inquiries / requests via Support Portal at: