Participatory Budgeting Resource Page Now Available on the HUD Exchange

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

Participatory Budgeting Resource Page Now Available on the HUD Exchange

HUD has launched the Participatory Budgeting resource page on the HUD Exchange. This page provides resources related to Participatory Budgeting, a citizen engagement process through which community members decide how to allocate a portion of a public budget. Citizens make direct decisions about how government money is spent in their community by identifying and prioritizing public spending projects. Communities can choose to use the Participatory Budgeting process to deepen citizen engagement, including for the use of eligible Department of Housing and Urban Development Housing and Community Development funds.

HUD and VA Announce Vouchers to Help Nearly 1,000 Homeless Veterans Find Permanent Homes

HUD and VA Announce Vouchers to Help Nearly 1,000 Homeless Veterans Find Permanent Homes
Project-based HUD-VASH vouchers will help reach goal of ending veteran homelessness by 2015

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) today announced $7 million to 24 local public housing agencies across the country to help nearly 1,000 homeless veterans find permanent housing. The supportive housing assistance announced today is provided through the HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) Program which combines rental assistance from HUD with case management and clinical services provided by VA.

Later this year, HUD anticipates awarding approximately 10,000 new HUD-VASH vouchers to build upon significant progress toward ending veteran homelessness. Since 2008, more than 59,000 vouchers have been awarded and 43,371 formerly homeless veterans are currently in homes of their own because of HUD-VASH. Rental assistance and support services provided through HUD-VASH are a critical resource for local communities in ending homelessness among our nation's veterans.

"We have made great progress, reducing homelessness among veterans by 24 percent in just three years," said HUD Secretary Julián Castro. "These vouchers will help communities build on these gains, providing targeted assistance to reach those in need. Ending homelessness is a top priority for me, and HUD looks forward to working with the Department of Veterans Affairs to ensure that every veteran has a place to call home in the country they risked everything to protect."

"VA, HUD and our federal, state and local partners should take pride in the progress made to reduce veterans' homelessness by 24 percent since 2010, but so long as there remains a veteran that lives on our streets, we have more work to do," said Carolyn M. Clancy, MD, Interim Under Secretary for Health. "These HUD-VASH vouchers are a vital tool in our effort to provide our veterans with the earned care and benefits that help them live productive, meaningful lives."

HUD-VASH is a critical part of the Obama Administration's commitment to end veteran homelessness by 2015. Opening Doors: Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness serves as a roadmap for how the federal government will work with state and local communities to confront the root causes of homelessness, especially among former servicemen and women.

As the former mayor of San Antonio, Secretary Castro was among the growing ranks of more than 180 mayors who joined the Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness by the end of 2015 by using federal, local and nonprofit resources. Since 2010, the Obama Administration has reduced veteran homelessness by 24 percent. And while ending veteran homelessness by the end of 2015 is within reach, continued use of tools like HUD-VASH are central to reaching that goal.

In the HUD-VASH program, VA Medical Centers (VAMCs) work closely with homeless veterans before referring them to local housing agencies for these vouchers. Decisions are based on a variety of factors, most importantly the duration of the homelessness and the need for longer term, more intensive support in obtaining and maintaining permanent housing. The HUD-VASH program includes both the rental assistance the voucher provides and the comprehensive case management that VAMC staff offers.

Veterans participating in the HUD-VASH program rent privately owned housing and generally contribute no more than 30 percent of their income toward rent. VA offers eligible homeless veterans clinical and supportive services through its medical centers across the U.S., Guam and Puerto Rico.
To view a list of the recipients of these project-based HUD-VASH vouchers, click here.
This eNewsletter is funded in part by a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor.
For the latest news, resources and grant information, visit our website at
National Coalition for Homeless Veterans
333 1/2 Pennsylvania Avenue SE
Washington, DC 20003
202-546-1969 or toll-free 1-800-VET-HELP

Jason Burns, MCSE
System Administrator
Direct: 443-574-HMIS                                      


SNAPS In Focus: Rapid Re-Housing As a Model and Best Practice

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

SNAPS In Focus: Rapid Re-Housing As a Model and Best Practice

Welcome to the next SNAPS In Focus message. Last week, I focused on Housing First as a best practice housing model. This week, I'm going to discuss rapid re-housing (RRH)—which follows Housing First principles—as a model and best practice. Although RRH programs have been used in some communities for many years, they have only recently started to be widely adopted. Evidence of their impact is growing, and HUD is encouraging CoCs to significantly expand RRH, particularly for families with children.
There are many reasons we are emphasizing RRH. It is one of the key strategies in Opening Doors, and it achieved positive outcomes during the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program (HPRP). Early evidence from a number of studies and evaluations—including the Rapid Re-Housing Demonstration, the Family Options Study, and evaluations of the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program—all show promising results. RRH programs are screening out fewer families than transitional housing programs. Homeless households are moving into permanent housing at higher rates, in less time, and at lower costs than transitional housing programs.
One of the main benefits of rapid re-housing is that the assistance is extremely flexible, allowing providers to tailor it to the unique needs of each household. HUD has published a Rapid Re-Housing Brief that describes the features of rapid re-housing, including its three core components:
·       Housing Identification—Housing identification services to recruit landlords and help households find appropriate rental housing in the community, which may include co-housing with a friend or family member.
·       Rent and Move-In Assistance—Rapid re-housing programs offer financial assistance to cover move-in costs, deposits, and the rental or utility assistance necessary to allow individuals and families to move immediately out of homelessness and stabilize in permanent housing.
·       Rapid Re-Housing Case Management and Services—Case management and services help households overcome barriers to acquiring and maintaining permanent housing.
While RRH projects should offer all three components, they may not need to provide all three to every program participant. The amount and types of assistance provided can vary significantly depending on a participant's needs. Households with more significant needs can receive longer, more intensive assistance, while households with fewer barriers can receive less assistance.
Rapid re-housing can be effective for many populations, such as families with children, youth aging out of foster care, domestic violence survivors, single adults, and veterans, but should be targeted to those households that would not be able to get out of homelessness without the assistance. It is particularly a key strategy for achieving the Opening Doors goal of ending family, youth, and child homelessness by 2020. To achieve that goal, we will have to dramatically expand RRH so it can serve most families who experience homelessness. Engaging mainstream programs will be crucial for this expansion. Our partners at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a memo last year about using Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) for rapid re-housing. Child welfare agencies can also contribute to rapid re-housing efforts as described in this National Alliance to End Homelessness brief on how child welfare agencies should use rapid re-housing.
We are also going to have to reshape current programs and resources serving homeless families. HUD has been encouraging communities to use Emergency Solutions Grants for RRH and to create new RRH projects serving families with children through reallocation under the CoC Program. As the 2020 goal approaches, we will increase that emphasis.
As new projects are developed, it is important that they adhere to both the letter and spirit of rapid re-housing. Households should be moving to permanent housing as quickly as possible after becoming homeless, not after lengthy stays in shelter or transitional housing. Rapid re-housing should prioritize people with more challenges, including those with no income, poor employment prospects, troubled rental histories, and criminal records. Providers should link participants with community resources that will help them achieve longer-term stability and well-being. Now is the time for communities to be working together to establish written standards for administering rapid re-housing and thinking strategically about how this type of assistance will be used most effectively within the CoC.
The U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recently hosted "Core Principles of Housing First and Rapid Re-Housing," a webinar designed for homelessness service providers, communities, and policymakers to understand the core components of the Housing First approach and the Rapid Re-Housing model and how both work together to help end homelessness. If you were not able to participate in the live webinar, you are encouraged to view the webinar materials.
We are very excited about the opportunities that rapid re-housing provide. We will continue providing resources, guidance, and incentives to help communities expand their RRH portfolio. Thank you, as always, for your tireless work and innovation in this area.
Ann Marie Oliva
Director, Office of Special Needs Assistance Programs

Baltimore County HMIS News 8/7/14

Please view the news and updates below.  Thank you for your dedication and support!

APR + HMIS Report Card Review (LAST ONE!!!) 8/19/14, 1:30pm - 2:30pm: If you are interested in attending a brief seminar about APR's (Annual Performance Reports) and our monthly online HMIS Report Cards at our office, please reserve your seat via our Support Portal at our site.  This will be the last review for a while, so please take advantage of this opportunity!
ServicePoint Manuals: Please ensure you are entering data in the exact order as per your program specific ServicePoint Manual, which you may download at our site.  Improper entry will always reflect poor program performance, which also affects the entire county.  If you are not sure which manual to download, please contact us.
CoC Program Start Up Conference (Save the Date 10/8 + 10/9):  We just received confirmation that the COC Program FY2013 Start Up Conference will be held on Wednesday October 8 and Thursday morning October 9, 2014.  This day and ½ training session will be delivered by a HUD TA provider from The Cloudburst Group, Sharon Price, at the Columbia Gateway Bldg. (Room 5) located at 6751 Columbia Gateway Drive, Columbia, MD 21046.  Registration will commence in a couple of weeks through The Cloudburst Group.

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

SOAR eNews - August 2014

If you are having trouble viewing the email below, please click here.
SOAR Logo, eNews Masthead Graphic
August 2014

Recently Published in Psychiatric Services:
Best Practices for Increasing Access to SSI and SSDI on Exit From Criminal Justice Settings

Transitioning from jail or prison to community living frequently results in homelessness and recidivism. Access to benefits such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid can increase access to housing and treatment and reduce recidivism. The authors, Deb Dennis, former Project Director of the SOAR Technical Assistance Center , Dazara Ware, Senior Project Associate of the SOAR TA Center, and Henry J. Steadman, Ph.D., President of Policy Research Associates, Inc., review best practices for prerelease access to these benefits by using examples from five jails and four state prison systems. In these settings, approval rates for SSI applications averaged 70 percent or higher, with evidence of improved access to housing and reductions in recidivism. Success depends on the commitment of resources and leadership, ongoing communication, and monitoring of results. The article can be found at:

Sharing Our Successes

SOARing to National Conferences
Kristin Lupfer and fellow presenters 2014 NAEH conferenceNational Alliance to End Homelessness: SOAR TA Center Director Kristin Lupfer, together with Patrick Thrush of New York and Margaret Flanagan of Maryland, presented Continuum of Care Partnerships to Link People with Public Benefits (SSA) at the 2014 National Conference on Ending Homelessness. They noted that increased access to health insurance through the Affordable Care Act does not ensure access to care. Adequate income and housing are essential elements to complement insurance. Participants learned how SOAR can bring increased funding for care providers through Medicaid/Medicare reimbursement, increased income to housing providers through rental payments, and most importantly, essential income and health insurance to the people we serve.
Pam Heine and fellow presenters 2014 NASW conferenceNational Association of Social Workers (NASW): SOAR TA Center Senior Project Associate, Pam Heine, together with Emily Kenney of Outreach Community Services of Milwaukee, WI, and Ashley Moore of Bread for the City in Washington, D.C., presented SSI/SSDI, Outreach, Access & Recovery (SOAR) Leaders: Bringing Hope to People Experiencing Homelessness at the NASW 2014 National Conference. This year’s theme was Social Work: Courage, Hope and Leadership. Each presenter recognized the power of SOAR, which has brought renewed hope and passion to their careers in social work.

SOAR News and Accomplishments
Washington, D.C.: The D.C. Council recently included $500,000 in their next budget to strengthen the local SOAR initiative. This funding will be used for dedicated SOAR staff and outreach workers to assist with initial applications and appeals. Numerous local agencies collaborated on the proposal and will form a community network to support SOAR in D.C. What an incredible investment in SOAR by the D.C. Council!
Kansas City, MO: Congratulations to Ryan Cohen, the first full-time dedicated SOAR case manager to be hired in the state of Missouri! Ryan will serve as the SOAR Coordinator for Assertive Community Outreach through Truman Medical Center in Kansas City. Ryan states that she never dreamed that her career track would lead her to working with the mentally ill and homeless population, but she has found that this has become a rewarding and fulfilling career option for her. Congratulations Ryan!
Brattleboro, VT: Congratulations to Andrea Jaquith of the Brattleboro Area Drop In Center, Inc. on her first approval using SOAR!
If you have a SOAR-related success story to share, email
In Our Own Voices
Topeka, KS: Walter Rivera, DDS Adjudicator, Kansas DDS, generously shares his thoughts with us about the SOAR process.
From my perspective as an adjudicator and DDS liaison for SOAR in Kansas, the success of SOAR in helping to end chronic homelessness is due to the SOAR-trained case managers, social workers, parole officers, outreach workers, and others trained in the SOAR model. These providers have filled a void by providing services lacking for so long for applicants who are homeless.
What do they do? They keep the person engaged long enough to obtain a detailed and accurate application, complete required forms, assist in making sure consultative exams are kept, and provide up to date medical documentation from medical/mental health providers. The availability of the SOAR staff to assist in answering follow-up questions and resolving conflicts and inconsistencies makes a huge difference. A well-written and to-the-point SOAR medical summary report consistent with the objective evidence is a valuable addition to the disability determination process.
Before SOAR, denial of claims was due to a lack of cooperation and documentation. The person simply got lost from the system. Why? The claimant not able to provide a reliable address or phone number. The SOAR representative with a signed 1696 goes a long way toward keeping the lines of communication open and information flowing.
The Kansas DDS office in Topeka serves the entire state. Having contacts and good working relationships with SOAR providers across the state is of tremendous importance, aiding DDS and SSA in making accurate and timely determinations. With the SOAR model, homeless claims are more likely to receive favorable determinations, as SOAR is instrumental in helping DDS obtain necessary documentation to make accurate determinations. This is evident by the high approval rate of SOAR applicants across the state who are now on benefits, housed, and rebuilding their lives. I hope that with the stability these benefits provide, some people will be able to rejoin the workforce. Social Security benefits and all that comes with them will likely decrease the need to access health care systems in the most expensive and inefficient manner and may also help people avoid incarceration. SOAR helps ease the strain of limited public resources and indirect costs to all.
Stay tuned for an upcoming publication from the SOAR TA Center highlighting SOAR success stories!

Social Security Updates

Social Security's National Disability Coalition
We are excited to inform you that the Social Security Administration has established a National Disability Coalition. The National Disability Coalition provides an opportunity for all interested stakeholders to share their unique insights on topics of particular interest to Social Security early in the process and directly with policymakers. Further, it provides an opportunity for stakeholders to hear from one another. Engaging interested parties through the National Disability Coalition can help the Social Security Administration capture innovative ideas, ensuring that our vision for the disability program continues to keep pace with advances in medicine, technology, health care delivery, and the modern workplace. To learn more about the Disability Coalition, visit
Social Security Extends Access to Benefit Verification: Multiple Options Available
The Social Security Administration announced that local Social Security offices would continue to provide benefit verification letters until further notice. Providing services when and where the public needs them remains central to Social Security’s efforts, while continuing to encourage federal, state, and local agencies to take advantage of Social Security’s data exchange programs that can serve customers more efficiently and effectively. Over the last few years, Social Security has invested in technology that allows most government agencies and many other organizations to verify their clients’ Social Security benefits electronically without requiring them to visit a local Social Security office. Members of the public with Internet access can obtain benefit verification information by creating a my Social Security account at For more information, please visit:!/post/7-2014-1

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.