The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recently released an update to the publication SOAR Works to End Veteran Homelessness: VA Caseworker's Guide. The publication is a comprehensive 13-page guide that assists federal VA workers with putting SOAR training into practice in the federal VA system. The VA updated this guide after publishing a memorandum allowing federal VA staff to become Appointed Representatives for Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability Insurance applications using the SSA-1696.
Salt Lake City SOAR Leadership Academy Participants
Salt Lake City, Utah SOAR Leadership Academy
From June 20 to 22, 2017, the SOAR TA Center facilitated a SOAR Leadership Academy in Salt Lake City, Utah. Jen Elder, Pam Heine, Abigail Lemon, and Suzy Sodergren of the SOAR TA Center facilitated the training. There were 24 participants representing 16 states and districts (CA, DC, DE, IL, KS, KY, MD, NV, PA, SC, TN, TX, UT, WA, WI, and WY). Throughout the training, we collaborated to discuss community challenges and create action plans for SOAR implementation. We are so excited for the new SOAR Leaders to strengthen and grow SOAR in their communities! If you are interested in attending a SOAR Leadership Academy and taking on a leadership role in your community, contact your SOAR TA Center Liaison.
Sharing Our Successes
Baltimore City SOAR
Baltimore City SOAR celebrated a milestone in June 2017 with their 500th SOAR decision! They have maintained a 91 percent approval rate on SOAR-assisted applications since data collection began in 2009. State SOAR Lead Caroline Bolas shared, "This is truly an amazing achievement and would not have been possible without the support of the wonderful partnerships between federal, state, and local agencies, in particular Health Care for the Homeless." Thanks for all the hard work, Baltimore City SOAR team!
Maryland SOAR Symposium
Over 80 participants from Maryland's SOAR community attended the state SOAR Symposium in June 2017. It featured presentations from the National SOAR TA Center, Maryland's Disability Determination Services (DDS), and a number of SOAR providers. Topics of discussion included a behind-the-scenes look at how decisions are made at DDS, using information about the denial process to file successful appeals, conducting effective outreach and engagement, writing effective Medical Summary Reports, and using SOAR for justice-involved populations. Additionally, a number of SOAR Values in Action Awards were presented to individuals and teams, as well as certificates for those case managers who achieved SOAR certification or re-certification during the year. It was a great opportunity for SOAR providers to come together to celebrate their successes and to learn from one another.
Annette Nebbia, the SOAR Project Benefits Supervisor for Community Alliance in Omaha, Nebraska and a SOAR Local Lead, wrote in to share a success story!
"Community Alliance is pleased to announce receipt of funding from The Sherwood Foundation to expand SOAR services in the Omaha community! [Through this funding,] Community Alliance is able to expand its program, which allows us to add three more full-time SOAR caseworkers. Community Alliance's SOAR program has operated for years with quite a long wait list. It is our hope to significantly reduce and/or eliminate this wait list.
We are tremendously grateful to The Sherwood Foundation for their investment in our community, support for those most vulnerable, and trust in Community Alliance to provide SOAR services that make a significant difference in one's life and helps that person on their road to recovery!!"
Congratulations, Annette and all of Community Alliance!
Do you have a success story you'd like to share with the SOAR community? E‐mail it to email@example.com!
The next SOARing Over Lunch Conference Call will take place Tuesday, July 11 at 1:00 p.m. ET! The SOAR TA Center hosts a series of informal monthly calls designed to help support SOAR efforts across the country. Participants can log‐in to ask about any SOAR‐related question they may have.
The SOAR TA Center facilitates this bi-monthly call which brings together state and local SOAR leads for an exchange of new resources, creative ideas, and best practices.
Save the Date: SOAR Webinar on SSA/DDS Collaborations
July 20, 2017; 3:00-4:00 p.m. ET
Save the date! The SOAR TA Center will be hosting a new webinar on Thursday, July 20 titled, Introducing New SOAR Tools: 'Guide to Collaborating with SSA & DDS' and 'How to Contact SSA'. Additional details, including registration information will be released shortly!
Collaboration Opportunity: Increasing Access to Phones & Services
HopeOneSource is a non-profit program whose mission includes connecting vulnerable individuals with a free Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Lifeline "Cell Phone" or "SIM Card" that comes withmonthly: unlimited/texts, 350 min/talk, and 500 MB/data. This is proven to provide people with a critical connection to housing, social, and career service providers. HopeOneSource uses a geolocated text messaging service that securely connects people with available local services and has been successfully used in Washington, D.C. to help decrease homelessness and hypothermia deaths. HopeOneSource is looking to partner with SOAR programs who can help expand the reach of this FCC Lifeline program in efforts to further promote housing and income stability to help prevent and end homelessness. If your program is interested in learning more, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
VA Secretary Shulkin formalized plans that lay the framework for providing emergency mental health coverage to former service members with Other-Than-Honorable (OTH) administrative discharges. Effective July 5, all Veterans Health Administration (VHA) medical centers will be prepared to offer emergency stabilization care for former service members who present at the facility with an emergent mental health need. Under this initiative, former service members with an OTH administrative discharge may receive care for their mental health emergency for an initial period of up to 90 days, which can include inpatient, residential, or outpatient care.
A new video produced by the VA highlights VA's Community-Based Partnerships to help end homelessness among Veterans. Through these partnerships, Veterans experiencing homelessness are housed and given access to needed resources. Highlighted organizations include Veterans Matter in Toledo, Ohio; Military Outreach USA in Chicago, Illinois; and Salute Mission Critical in Chicago, Illinois. Learn more about VA's Community-Based Programs to End Homelessness.
Looking for some new tools to help support your SOAR initiative? Check out these articles and tools, handpicked by SOAR Liaison Matt Canuteson!
State-by-State Member Directory [Funders Together to End Homelessness]: This resource provides a state-by-state listing of grant makers working to end and prevent homelessness.
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 is sending this NewsFlash 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.