Reminder: Due Today 8/31 & Extension Requests Due Tomorrow 9/1

Hi Team,

I hope that you are doing well. This is just a reminder that requests for extensions are due today. Program changes are due tomorrow. If you have questions or are encountering issues, please let me know before 2pm today.

To help with planning, I am including a list of grantees that have submitted extension requests in GIFTs for our region (as of 7am this morning). Please refer to the information from Friday (below), if you need additional guidance on extension requests.  

Extension Requests Received as of 7am on 8/31
Black Veterans for Social Justice, Inc.
Catholic Charities of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse NY
Community Action Partnership
Project PLASE, Inc.
Housing Counseling Services
Lynn Housing Authority Development Group, Inc.
Samaritan Village, Inc.
Soldier On of Delaware, Inc.
Soldier On, Inc.
Veterans Outreach Center, Inc.
Veterans Outreach Center, Inc.
Volunteers of America of Massachusetts, Inc.
Westchester Community Opportunity Program, Inc. (WestCOP)
The Workplace, Inc.

Thanks so much!


Adrienne Nash Meléndez, MLD
SSVF Regional Coordinator
VA National Center on Homelessness Among Veterans

From: Melendez, Adrienne
Sent: Friday, August 28, 2015 11:06 AM.
Subject: Read Now & Forward To Finance Staff: SSVF Program Changes and Extensions
Importance: High

Hi SSVF Program Managers and Team,

It is very, very important that you read through this email. As discussed on our Super Region call last week, grantees are responsible for managing deadlines and for reaching out proactively before deadlines. We cannot follow up individually; we need you to reach out to us. If a deadline is missed, there will be no exceptions; you will forfeit your opportunity. Lastly, I know that most of our team is really strong with deadlines, and I really appreciate your help. Therefore, please use this email as a refresher; there is no need to respond unless you have questions.

I need you to do 3 things for me.

1.       Read and understand this email.
2.       Share this information with your finance staff. (Email it to them and follow up verbally)
3.       Meet the deadlines as they pertain to your grant(s).

Monday 8/31
·         Request for an Extension
o   Grantees that requested an extension through the online survey should have received a requirement in GIFTs.
o   This requirement must be completed by 8/31.
§  If you need an extension but do not see the requirement, email me today with your grant number.
o   Please note that the extension is for 60 days. This is different than past years where we allowed 90 days. Please keep this timeline in mind as you prepare your final budget modifications.

Tuesday 9/1
·         Last Program Change Request
o   The last request is due by 9/1 close of business. Late or incomplete submissions will not be accepted.
o   This process was reviewed on our Super Region call last week. These are still emailed (see Guide) with me cc'd to your request.
o   If you have questions, ask now.
o   Please refer to the Companion Guide for Program Changes for more information

·         Community Plan Submissions are due on 9/15 (deadline was extended from 9/1 to 9/15)

I really appreciate your hard work.

Have a great weekend!


Always use our manuals. NEVER guess! Proper data saves hours! 

When Mexicans crossed our border to feed Americans in need

Stephen R. Kelly, a former U.S. diplomat who served in Mexico from 2004 to 2006, teaches at the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University.

In a scene that would have given Donald Trump heart palpitations, 200 flag-waving Mexican troops breached the U.S. border outside Laredo, Tex., 10 years ago and advanced unopposed up Interstate 35 to San Antonio.

It was the first time a Mexican army had marched on San Antonio since 1836 when Gen. Santa Ana massacred besieged Texas independence fighters at the Alamo.

This time, however, the Mexican soldiers were on a relief mission to feed tens of thousands of homeless and hungry Americans displaced by Hurricane Katrina. Setting up camp at a former Air Force base outside San Antonio, they distributed potable water, medical supplies and 7,000 hot meals a day for the next three weeks.

If this doesn’t sound like the Mexico you’ve been hearing about lately — the one that has been ripping America off, the one that sends rapists and criminals across the border — you might want to consider this little-known gesture of humanity from our abused southern neighbor as you think about Katrina 10 years later.

I was serving as the No. 2 at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City in August 2005 when Katrina made landfall on the Gulf Coast. The storm’s track posed no danger to Mexico, and we followed events like most expatriate Americans — aghast, but at a distance.

But not Mexicans. They were watching the same scenes of floating corpses and botched relief efforts in New Orleans. My chief contact at Mexico’sForeign Ministry called to say the Mexican army had two field kitchens that could feed storm victims who had made their way to Texas, he said, and the navy had two ships that could help with cleanup efforts in New Orleans.

I told my contact the offer was very generous, noted that many countries had offered assistance, and added that the State Department and the Federal Emergency Management Agency would decide which offers to accept. He said it was too late for that. The convoy had already left Mexico City on its way to the border, and the ships were ready to steam from Veracruz.

To put this in context, the United States likes to think of itself as the country that does the helping, as we had done when Mexico City was struck by a devastating earthquake in 1985. But few had contemplated the possibility that Mexico would be coming to help us.

The next 48 hours were a mad scramble to get Washington to say yes, to figure out how to admit more than 200 military personal without passports or visas, and to recognize that the Mexican army, traditionally one of the most nationalistic and anti-American elements in the Mexican government, was making an extraordinary gesture.

It worked. The 45-vehicle convoy crossed the border at Laredo at dawn on Sept. 8 and arrived in San Antonio later that day. The only glitch was that the USDA would not allow the Mexicans to serve the beef they had brought because they couldn’t prove it had been produced in a mad-cow-free facility. Undeterred — and un-insulted — the Mexicans bought their beef locally.

By the time their mission in San Antonio ended Sept. 25, the Mexicans had served 170,000 meals, helped distribute more than 184,000 tons of supplies and conducted more than 500 medical consultations.

Mexican sailors also assisted with clearing downed branches and other storm debris in Biloxi, Miss., where they posed for photos with President George W. Bush, who thanked them for their help.

Nobody was more surprised by this humanitarian mission than the Mexican military itself. Perhaps pumped up by its unexpected display of competence and compassion, even for a normally haughty northern neighbor, the Mexican army became far less defensive , and more willing to cooperate with its U.S. counterpart.

Disasters such as Hurricane Katrina, or the spectacle of U.S. presidential politics, often force to the surface the true character of the players. The Mexicans proved they were neighbors we can count on. One can only speculate how Trump would have handled the Mexican invasion had he been president. Would he have considered the visa-free Mexican soldiers illegal immigrants? Would he dispatch rape kits to San Antonio-area hospitals?

We should try to answer those questions soon. Because hurricane season is again upon us. And you never know when you are going to need a friendly neighbor, and a hot meal.

REMINDER: HMIS System Maintenance on 8/29/15

This is a friendly reminder that we are performing system maintenance on Saturday 8/29, and will be fully operational by 4pm or earlier.  Please call my cell phone 443-574-HMIS for questions/concerns.  Thank you for your participation, and have a great weekend!

Jason Burns, MCSE
Systems Administrator

Always use our manuals. NEVER guess! Proper data saves hours! 

2015 NCHV Veterans Access to Housing Summit - The Road Ahead: Combating a National Crisis in Affordable Housing

2015 NCHV Veterans Access to Housing Summit - The Road Ahead: Combating a National Crisis in Affordable Housing
Register today to accelerate your community's efforts to end veteran homelessness
The Road Ahead: Combating a National Crisis in Affordable Housing
We are facing a national affordable housing crisis. Across the country, veterans in your programs are making strides toward stability yet still find themselves unable to afford housing due to historically low vacancy rates and a drought in affordable housing stock. The Drive to December must include a focus on addressing this crisis in the coming years so we have adequate affordable housing stock for homeless and low-income veterans and their families now and in the future.
At this year’s Housing Summit, we will take a hard look at what it takes to open up new housing opportunities for homeless veterans. As a local leader, you should come prepared to assess your agency's ability to, and interest in, creating and sustaining new affordable housing. Experts on Enhanced Use Lease (EUL), Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC), Olmstead resources, and other permanent supportive housing financing tools will be ready to help you plan out your next steps.

The 2015 NCHV Veterans Access to Housing Summit, "The Drive to December", will be held Oct. 5-6 at the Grand Hyatt Washington in Washington, D.C. 
Download the 2015 NCHV Veterans Access to Housing Summit schedule.
The discounted room block is now SOLD OUT. 
Space at this event is limited, and no walk up registrations will be accepted. Please plan ahead to ensure you are able to attend. Stay tuned to the NCHV Veterans Access to Housing Summit webpage for the latest updates!

Registration fee for NCHV members is $200. 

Registration fee for non-NCHV members is $250.

Click here to learn more about joining NCHV!

Connecticut Becomes First State to End Chronic Homelessness Among Veterans

Connecticut Becomes First State to End Chronic Homelessness Among Veterans
Governor Dan Malloy joined by VA Secretary Bob McDonald for historic announcement
Yesterday, Governor Dan Malloy announced that Connecticut has become the first state in the country to end chronic homelessness among veterans. This announcement marks another milestone in the campaign to end veteran homelessness nationwide. With towns, cities, and states coordinating efforts across the board to identify and house homeless veterans, the United States as a whole has become a truly national coalition for homeless veterans.
"We have set a high bar - and with today's announcement, we're on our way to achieving it. We are truly a national leader on these issues, because our veterans deserve access to housing, quality health care, education, and career opportunities.  It's our obligation to deliver for them, and that's just what we're doing as a state," Governor Malloy said. "We established this bold goal to end homelessness among our veterans not because it's good for our economy and makes communities stronger, but because it's morally right.  Ending chronic veteran homelessness is just another step forward and another marker of progress towards reaching our goal of ending all veteran homelessness by the end of this year."

Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Bob McDonald was on hand for Governor Malloy's announcement, stating "President Obama has made a bold goal to end veteran homelessness by the end of this year, and states and cities across the country are committed to making sure every Veteran has a safe and stable place to call home.  Here in Connecticut, you've responded to that challenge by helping the most vulnerable homeless veterans find permanent housing. Americans understand and believe, as I do, that no one who has fought for this country should have to fight to keep a roof over their head. This progress would not be possible without the partnerships that have been built here in Connecticut and across the nation; partnerships across the federal government, with state and local governments, with non-profit organizations and with the private sector. This is not a static challenge; it is an ongoing challenge and we will keep at it because that is what the men and women who have served our nation have earned and deserve."
To read the full press release and view more coverage from yesterday's historic announcement, see the latest post in Coalition Call.

FUNDING OPP: Good Neighbor Citizenship

State Farm’s philanthropy program for community organizations is called the Good Neighbor Citizenship grant program.  These grants provide programmatic support in the focus areas outlined below.  The application for 2016 funding will be open from Tuesday, September 1, 2015, through Friday, October 30, 2015. Funding will be disbursed in late first quarter 2016.

Safety Grants
State Farm values the importance of keeping our neighbors safe.   Our safety funding is directed toward:

  • disaster preparedness and recovery
  • improving driver, passenger, vehicle, or roadway safety (Auto Safety)
  • shielding home from fires, criminals, or natural disasters

Education Grants
Creating better educated communities includes providing access to personal financial education and job training. Our funding is directed toward three areas:

1.      Teacher quality: Any program that provides support for the improvement of teaching.  This can include support for professional development for teachers if that development is tied to improved outcomes for students. 
2.      Service-learning: Any support for programs that engage students and teachers in applying what they are learning in the classroom to real-world applications of that learning. 
3.      Systemic reform:
    • Efforts and programs that impact the “8-3” school day
    • Efforts that directly impact the system of education.  This includes implementation of policy changes at the local and state level.
    • A means to maximize the number of youth that are achieving at the highest achievement levels as demonstrated by performance outlined by the Common Core Standards.

OTHER EDUCATION categories will support Job Training and Personal Financial Literacy:

Job Training: training to gain the skills and knowledge necessary to enter or re-enter the workforce and become economically self-sufficient.
*List is not-all-inclusive
    • Skills USA
    • Vocational Training
    • Job Training for Veterans
    • Small Business Entrepreneur
    • Youth Build Programs

Programs in this category will be considered for all ages. Job training can be for skilled or unskilled labor.

Personal Financial Literacy (financial education):
*List is not all-inclusive
    • Junior Achievement
    • Homeownership Counseling
    • Credit and Budget Counseling
    • Tax Preparation Assistance Programs/Tax Clinics

Programs in this category will be considered for all ages.
*Some restrictions apply under each program area

Our charitable contributions are not available for one-time events or sponsorships (i.e. golf tournaments, dinners and other fundraisers) and are awarded to the following organizations:
Ø  Educational Institutions
Ø  Government entities
Ø  501(c)(3) charitable nonprofit organizations
Ø  501(c)(4) volunteer fire companies
Ø  501(c)(6) chambers of commerce

Items of note:
  • Minimum grant amount is $5,000.
  • Funding decisions are approved locally.
  • Grant applications must be submitted online.
  • One proposal per organization per year may be considered.  

Erin Bailey
State Farm® Community Specialist
Delaware | Maryland | West Virginia
office:    304-367-7811
Follow Me on Twitter @SF_ErinBailey
Stories that inspire. Check out #GoodNeighbors

SOAR Webinar Announcement

SOAR News Flash Header - Top
SOAR News Flash Header - Left
August 2015
SOAR News Flash Header - Left
SOAR News Flash Header - Bottom

SOAR Webinar:
The SOAR Medical Summary Report

Thursday, September 10, 2015
3:00pm-4:30pm EDT

The Medical Summary Report (MSR) is a SOAR signature tool and key to a successful application. It is a letter that provides a succinct, comprehensive summary of the applicant's personal and treatment history and its impact on his or her life. It also clearly describes the factors affecting functioning and ability to work.

In this webinar you will learn more about the MSR Interview Guide and Template and how to effectively interview for and write an MSR.  Presenters from around the country will share how they have successfully used MSRs in their SOAR practice. Participants will have access to helpful tools and sample MSRs from approved applications.

This webinar is recommended for SOAR practitioners, SOAR team leads and other individuals who would like more information on the importance of the Medical Summary Report in the SSI/SSDI application process.

Click here to register for this webinar

For more information, go to
Follow Us on Twitter: @soarworks

2015 NCHV Veterans Access to Housing Summit - Beyond the Definitions: Where the Rubber Meets the Road

2015 NCHV Veterans Access to Housing Summit - Beyond the Definitions: Where the Rubber Meets the Road
Event nearing capacity, register today! 
Beyond the Definitions: Where the Rubber Hits the Road
We know that change for homeless veterans overall comes down to addressing each individual veteran, but how can you capitalize on what we are learning from overlapping national initiatives that challenge Mayors and push for ‘functional zero’? At this year’s Housing Summit, you will have the opportunity to learn from and share with your peers to dig in to what programs and definitions mean to pull out tangible, effective practices that propel change on the local level.
Spend time with representatives from community agencies who have mastered key components of 'functional zero' systems. Hear how they combined coordinated intake, landlord engagement, peer mentors, master lists, master leases, low-barrier entry criteria, and creativity to maximize positive housing outcomes for homeless veterans in their communities. Be prepared to talk specifically about transitional housing’s role in this effort.
This is where the rubber meets the road… will you hit the ground running?

The 2015 NCHV Veterans Access to Housing Summit, "The Drive to December", will be held Oct. 5-6 at the Grand Hyatt Washington in Washington, D.C. 
Download the 2015 NCHV Veterans Access to Housing Summit schedule.
The discounted room block is now SOLD OUT. 
Space at this event is limited, and no walk up registrations will be accepted. Please plan ahead to ensure you are able to attend. Stay tuned to the NCHV Veterans Access to Housing Summit webpage for the latest updates!

Registration fee for NCHV members is $200. 

Registration fee for non-NCHV members is $250.

Click here to learn more about joining NCHV!

How VA is providing a record level of service

Find out what this historic goal means for you and your family.

Filing is easier. Learn more.
Can't see this? View online.
See the changes to VA benefits
Celebrate a historic low for VA claims

A Historic Success for Veterans Service

This week, we reduced the disability claims backlog to 98,535 claims - an 84% reduction from its peak and a historic low. This reduction means that Veterans' disability claim decisions are being delivered more accurately and efficiently. The faster Veterans receive completed claim decisions, the quicker they can access the benefits they are entitled to.

As we mark this important milestone in VA's history, we commit to continuing our efforts to improve. We will never waiver in our dedication to providing the best possible service to Veterans, Servicemembers, their families, and Survivors.

Find out more about how VA is improving services to Veterans and what you can do to help us achieve even greater success. 

learn more link