Only the HMIS users listed below should attend this training.  

CAN Shelter RRH - N/A
DSS Housing Counselor - Robin Reed (main user)
DSS RRH #1 - Jermica Wallace (main user), Tim Wynn (backup user)
DSS RRH #2 - Jermica Wallace (main user), Tim Wynn (backup user)
Hannah More RRH - Stephanie Solomon (main user)
N2N RRH - Alan Hirsch (main user)
Prologue RRH - Anthony Haskins (main user)


TRAINING TYPE: Rapid ReHousing

DATE AND TIME: 7/30, 9:30am - 12:30pm

LOCATION: BCDP Office, Rear Conference Room

EQUIPMENT: N/A. Team HMIS will provide all necessary equipment.

MATERIALS: N/A. Team HMIS will provide all training materials.

ATTENDEES: Designated HMIS users, only. Calendar appointment reminders have been sent. Attendees must arrive on time, and turn off all electronic devices. Attendees that are late or using electronic devices may be asked to leave. 

Jason Burns, MCSE
System Administrator    
Office Ph: 410-887-5968

HUD Releases Notice on Prioritizing Persons Experiencing Chronic Homelessness in PSH and Recordkeeping Requirements for Chronic Homeless Status

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development HUD Exchange Mailing List

HUD Releases Notice on Prioritizing Persons Experiencing Chronic Homelessness in PSH and Recordkeeping Requirements for Chronic Homeless Status

Today, HUD posted the Notice on Prioritizing Persons Experiencing Chronic Homelessness and Other Vulnerable Homeless Persons in Permanent Supportive Housing and Recordkeeping Requirements for Documenting Chronic Homeless Status. This Notice provides guidance to Continuums of Care (CoCs) and recipients of Continuum of Care (CoC) Program (24 CFR part 578) funding for permanent supportive housing (PSH) regarding the order in which eligible households should be served in all CoC Program-funded PSH. This Notice also establishes recordkeeping requirements for all recipients of CoC Program-funded PSH that includes beds that are required to serve persons experiencing chronic homelessness as defined in 24 CFR 578.3, in accordance with 24 CFR 578.103.
HUD seeks to achieve three goals through this Notice:
  1. Establish an order of priority for dedicated and prioritized PSH beds which CoCs are encouraged to adopt in order to ensure that those persons with the most severe service needs are given first priority.
  2. Inform the selection process for PSH assistance not dedicated or prioritized for chronic homelessness to prioritize persons who do not yet meet the definition of chronic homelessness but are most at risk of becoming chronically homeless.
  3. Provide uniform recordkeeping requirements for all recipients of CoC Program-funded PSH for documenting chronically homeless status of program participants when required to do so as well as provide guidance on recommended documentation standards that CoCs may require of its recipients of CoC Program-funded PSH if the priorities included in the Notice are adopted by the CoC.
If you have questions regarding this Notice, please submit your questions to the HUD Exchange Ask A Question (AAQ) portal. To submit a question to the AAQ portal, select CoC Program from the “My question is related to” drop down list on Step 2 of the question submission process.

Provide Feedback on SAMHSA's Strategic Plan


Comment on SAMHSA's Strategic Plan for 2015–2018
Feedback Deadline: Monday, August 18, 2014
SAMHSA is the agency within HHS that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the Nation. Our mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America's communities.
This strategic plan outlines work to increase the awareness and improve understanding about mental and substance use disorders; promote emotional health and wellness, and the prevention of substance abuse and mental illness; increase access to effective treatment; and support recovery. An important component of the plan is to prioritize six Strategic Initiatives and the linkages between these initiatives and SAMHSA's policy, programmatic, and financial planning. At its core, this plan offers a framework for common categories of initiatives that enables cross-collaboration and organization of SAMHSA's work.
Download Leading Change 2.0 [PDF – 737 KB]
Provide Feedback on the Strategic Plan

Like SAMHSA on Facebook   Follow SAMHSA on Twitter   Subscribe to SAMHSA's YouTube Channel   Visit the SAMHSA Dialogue Blog

SOAR Summer 2014

SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access and Recovery (SOAR)
 Sizzling with SOAR!

Summer 2014
In This Issue
Inaugural SOAR Conference & Celebration
Benefit Verification Letters
SOAR Expert Shares Her Tips

What is SOAR?

SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access, and Recovery (SOAR) is a federal initiative that expedites and improves access to Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) for individuals experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness and diagnosed with a mental illness and/or co-occurring disorder. These programs, administered by the Social Security Administration, provide income and access to health insurance for individuals that are unable to work due to medical and/or psychiatric  conditions.

The application process is complex and difficult to navigate. Through effective partnerships, technical assistance and training, the SOAR Initiative aims to increase the amount of applications and approvals for vulnerable individuals. For more information about SOAR visit

 SOAR Data
Hands holding pieces up paper up that spell SOAR   
Congratulations to Baltimore City  which has just received its 300th SOAR approval! What a wonderful achievement!  As of the end of June 2014, Maryland had over 750 decisional SOAR cases. As a state our overall approval rate is 81% (compared with the current SOAR national average of 65%). In FY 2014, 87% of all initial SOAR claims were approved in just 73 days!

Charles County 
We are delighted that Charles County is the latest jurisdiction to implement SOAR and we are very excited to have them on board!

Quick Links 


More questions about SOAR?

If you are new to SOAR within Maryland and want to learn more, contact Marian Bland at
or Caroline Bolas at

Share what you are doing with SOAR!
Email to
share your successes

Behavioral Health Administration
Mental Hygiene Administration and Alcohol and Drug Abuse Administration formally merged on July 1, 2014 to become the Behavioral Health Administration.

The Behavioral Health Administration is responsible for oversight of Public Behavioral Health services for those who have mental illness, substance use disorders, and co-occurring mental illness and substance use disorders. This much welcomed integration will enhance service provision for those who we serve and provide opportunities to expand the work of SOAR.

 World Medical Health Information cover
The Mental Hygiene Administration's article
 Going Beyond Income: Demonstrating the Importance of Disability Benefits - Maryland's SOAR Initiative was published in World Medicare and Health Policy.

Inaugural SOAR Conference & Celebration A Huge Success!
On Friday, June 20, 2014, over 75 SOAR providers and partners gathered together to participate in Maryland's first-ever SOARA large group listens to a woman speaker during the opening session of the conference conference! The day featured presentations and breakout sessions on SOAR related topics such as SOAR and housing, employment after SOAR, understanding the appeal process, Medicaid expansion and the Affordable Care Act, writing effective Medical Summary Reports (MSRs) integrating SOAR into everyday roles and responsibilities, as well as a question and answer session with representatives from Social Security Administration and Disability Determination Services.
A group of people listening to a woman speaker during a workshop
For many participants one of the highlights of the conference was hearing two individuals who received SOAR services share their stories of working through the Social Security process, and their personal struggles and successes. The powerful stories offered a glimpse into the journeys of these two amazing gentleman and how SOAR not only assisted in accessing the benefits they needed, but helped them to realize their ability to contribute to our community and find meaning and purpose. As one participant commented, "The personal stories by the two gentlemen were very moving and for me encouraged higher commitment to the SOAR process".

The conference was also an opportunity to recognize the efforts and achievements of all those involved in Maryland's SOAR Initiative past and present. As part of this, the Mental Hygiene Administration presented the following awards:
 * Most SOAR Approvals in FY 2014 Theresa Shenk of Anne Arundel County (SOAR funded position) & Sharon Lemone of Montgomery County (non SOAR funded position)
* Special Achievement Award: Katie League of Baltimore City

Leadership Award: Richard Schiffauer of Montgomery County

Innovation Award: Margaret Flanagan of Baltimore City

Community Partnership Awards to Merlina Romanoff, Social Security Administration, and Kimberlee Schultz, Maryland Division of Rehabilitation Services and Maryland's Disability Determination Services (accepted by Caroline Mason, Tracy Ellis, Tessa Walker, and Chauna Richardson)

Yvonne Perret, known affectionately as the mother of SOAR, became the first inductee into Maryland's SOAR Hall of Fame.
And, the National SOAR Technical Assistance Center presented a leadership award for Maryland's SOAR Initiative.

The day was a huge success.  Special thanks to Caroline Mason, Kimberlee Schultz, Margaret Flanagan, Amy Baker and Jen Elder for all their hard work as members of the planning committee.


Social Security CardBenefit Verification Letters

Previously, the Social Security Administration (SSA) had stated that it would stop providing benefit verification letters at local field offices from October 2014. However, on July 17, 2014, it was announced that local Social Security offices will continue to provide benefit verification letters until further notice.

That being said, wherever possible SSA is strongly encouraging individuals to obtain such information by creating a my Social Security account at

 SOAR Pro-Tips
There is a tremendous amount of expertise in the Maryland SOAR community.
SOAR expert Bilqis Rock of Health Care for the Homeless in Baltimore has a 90% approval rate. Her number one tip when writing a MSR is "If you are having trouble gathering information from an individual, re-frame the question and provide concrete examples for the individual so they have an idea of what information to provide. For example, when asking 'can you cook' often the person will answer 'yes'. However, this does not get to the meat of the issue. Re-frame the question, 'what foods do you cook?' orHands handing a bowl of soup to a a person wearing a robe even be more specific 'do you use the microwave or stove when you cook?' The person will be able to give more concrete examples to these questions."