IMPORTANT: SSVF Special Edition Program Update: NOFA Application Due TODAY February 3, 2017!

Hi Team,

This is just a reminder that SSVF NOFA applications are due today at 4pm EST. If you have an urgent question, it must be sent to with me cc'd.

Thanks so much!


-----Original Message-----
From: Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) []
Sent: Friday, February 03, 2017 8:17 AM
Subject: [EXTERNAL] IMPORTANT: SSVF Special Edition Program Update: NOFA Application Due TODAY February 3, 2017!

Reminder:  All SSVF NOFA Applications are Due  TODAY  Friday February 3, 2017 at 4:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time

Applications for supportive services grants under the SSVF Program must be received by the SSVF Program Office by 4:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on February 3, 2017. In the interest of fairness to all competing applicants, this deadline is firm as to date and hour, and VA will treat as ineligible for consideration any application that is received after the deadline. Applicants should take this practice into account and make early submission of their materials to avoid any risk of loss of eligibility brought about by unanticipated delays, computer service outages, or other delivery-related problems.

Thank you,

SSVF Program Office

NOTE:  If you are receiving this email in error, please disregard.  We request your patience as the SSVF Program Office continues to address system issues with the grants management database.

ARDRAW Small Grant Announcement

Get funded for your graduate student research project!
Get funded for your graduate student research project!

7 graduate students in colorful clothing, smiling with a tree in the background. Most holding laptops or mobile devices.

Get funded for your graduate student research project!


Reminder: Informational Webinar, Wednesday, February 8, 2017 at 2:00pm (ET)! Register here:

Applications for Research Stipends Due: March 2, 2017

For more information and to apply

The Social Security Administration (SSA) is granting graduate students $10,000 stipends to research work, rehabilitation and disability issues through the ARDRAW Small Grant Program.  The objective of the Analyzing Relationships between Disability, Rehabilitation and Work (ARDRAW) Small Grant Program is to foster new analysis of work, rehabilitation, and disability issues, which may develop innovative and fresh perspectives on disability by providing research stipends to a broad spectrum of graduate students. ARDRAW replaces the 5-year grant called the Disability Determination Process Small Grant Program, with a new focus on research relevant to SSA's work incentives and employment support - specifically rehabilitation, work and the disability program.
Applicants must be masters, doctoral, or post-doctoral-level part-time or full-time graduate students pursuing studies in accredited programs at the time of the award (Fall semester of 2017). Selected students will receive a stipend of $10,000 for the one-year program.

Informational Calls

We will be holding an informational conference call on February 8, 2017 at 2:00 pm (ET). Interested students and faculty mentors are invited to attend. We will provide a brief introduction to the program, review the elements of a successful application and answer any questions. 

Register here: 

February 8th:

View the Request for Applications (RFA):

Contact us at with any questions. 

Recommendation to Update Data Use and Retention Policies

NHSDC Recommendation to Update Data Use and Retention Policies
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Recommendation to Update Data Use and Retention Policies

Members recently raised concerns on emerging immigration issues and sought guidance from the National Human Services Data Consortium (NHSDC).  As developments unfold, these changed circumstances are relevant to every community dedicated to delivering social services that sustain life and protect households.  Individuals should carefully consider whether to retain data that may put the community and clients at risk.

While agencies, non-profits, and others are committed to the privacy of their records, their capacity to maintain confidentiality may be threatened by new federal government policies.  Community agencies depending on federal grants, municipalities deriving significant benefit from federal business, and other groups susceptible to the withdrawal of federal dollars should carefully consider the benefit of storing data related to national origin or immigration status.

Demands by the federal government, through statutory or regulatory authority, or state and local interlocutors, could leverage a variety of incentives to create substantial pressure on organizations to improperly disclose data collected under a promise of confidentiality.

All stewards of data collected and disseminated at the local, state, and federal levels should carefully consider if the vulnerability created by maintaining this data is sufficiently balanced by the services provided based on that data.

Communities may want to consider the following factors to inform their decision:
  1. Why is the information collected?
    • Is it pursuant to specific direction by a funder or authority with jurisdiction?
    • Does the information inform a specific policy, service referral, or activity?
    • Is this information reported in the aggregate or by individuals to any external entity?
  2. Does the information benefit the household or individual enrolled in the service?
    • Is the benefit specific and concrete for the material benefit of the client?
    • Is the benefit contingent on having the participant’s immigration status or country of origin?
    • Is the data collected only for the benefit of the agency or community’s planning or reporting purposes?
  3. If the household’s life/safety is at risk, does the custodian of the records have sufficient authority to hash, remove, archive, or destroy a data element not required by statutory or grant obligations?
    • Does the administrator of the system have clear instruction from the entity that owns the system on how to proceed?
    • Are these instructions documented with clear language and disseminated to the relevant parties that need instructions?
    • Does this new dynamic require an update to your organization’s data retention policy?
  4. Has the organization that owns the system discussed and determined a course of action for any resulting legal action?
    • Does the organization have an attorney?
    • Has the organization met and discussed this and related topics with their attorney?
    • How does local, state, and federal law impact decisions like this?
    • How does directors and officers insurance, liability insurance, and other protections apply or not?
    • Can organizations partner with larger entities, states or municipalities, to leverage resources and expertise?
NHSDC remains committed to providing leadership on the best use of information technology to manage human services.   We anticipate creating opportunities for members to discuss the issues raised here at our upcoming Spring conference.

Looking to Increase Your SOAR Funding?

Plus Success Stories from New Mexico and Washington!
Plus Success Stories from New Mexico and Washington!
February e-News Header

SOAR TA Center Launches Foundation Funding Learning Community to Support Communities Looking to Expand SOAR Activities!

Across the country, SOAR communities are consistently looking at new and innovative ways to sustain and grow their SOAR activities. Typically, SOAR programs have been primarily funded with government funds (e.g., CABHI, PATH) and during the month of February, the SOAR TA Center will be working with three SOAR communities in a Foundation Funding Learning Community to assist them with expanding their funding from foundations and corporations.
Each organization will receive extensive support with identifying and applying for funding to expand their SOAR work, primarily through the addition of new SOAR case managers to help meet local SOAR service needs.
At the end of the 6-week session, which will include both group and individual conference calls, the communities will be submitting applications to foundations that best fit the work they are looking to do in their communities. In addition to the consultation, organizations will receive templates, tools, and information necessary to complete the respective application processes.
Please be on the lookout for more updates about the SOAR Foundation Funding Learning Community and opportunities for participation in future sessions. In addition, the SOAR TA Center encourages you to visit the Funding and Sustainability page of the SOARWorks site and to reach out to your SOAR TA Center Liaison for more information about funding SOAR initiatives. The SOAR TA Center offers a lot of support with expanding funding, including the development of tailored foundation funding opportunity lists for your community. 

Partner Updates

The CSG Justice Center's National Reentry Resource Center has released a discussion paper that identifies key questions and issues every policymaker should consider when seeking to help people leaving prison and jail connect to needed mental health and substance use treatment. All states, regardless of the scope of their Medicaid coverage, can use this paper to ensure prisons and jails are positioned as effective hubs for helping eligible people get public health care coverage and Social Security and Veterans benefits. This assistance can help facilitate easier access to treatment and help reduce recidivism as part of a comprehensive reentry effort. The SOAR program is mentioned throughout the document as a strategy to expand access to Social Security disability benefits.
Application deadline: February 15, 2017
SAMHSA and Bringing Recovery Supports to Scale Technical Assistance Center Strategy (BRSS TACS) are pleased to announce the Capacity Building Opportunity, a free, intensive technical assistance (TA) opportunity for peer-run organizations (PROs), recovery community organizations (RCOs), and family-run organizations.
Up to 25 PROs/RCOs/family-run organizations will be selected to receive individualized consultation, training, and peer-to-peer support over the course of a 6-month period in one of five areas:
  • Partnering With State Systems to Advance Recovery;
  • Advancing the Peer and Family Support Workforce;
  • Building Capacity to Support Peer and Family Services;
  • Sustaining Recovery in Educational Settings; and
  • Supporting Re-entry.
For more information on eligibility and to apply, please review the complete overview and application. Applications are due 2/15/17 at 8 pm EST.  Questions?  Email BRSS TACS at or call (781) 247-1711.

Application deadline: February 24, 2017
SAMHSA's GAINS Center is currently soliciting applications from communities interested in developing integrated strategies to better identify and respond to the needs of adults with co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders in contact with the criminal justice system. Sequential Intercept Mapping (SIM) is a 1.5-day workshop designed to allow local, multidisciplinary teams of people from jurisdictions to facilitate collaboration and to identify and discuss ways in which barriers between the criminal justice, mental health, and substance use systems can be reduced and to begin development of integrated local plans. 

Sharing Our Successes

New Mexico

St. Elizabeth Shelter in Santa Fe, New Mexico highlighted the SOAR program in their December 2016 newsletter! The article, SOARing to New Heights, explains the role of the SOAR program from the point of view of a case manager!
From the article: "For those who persist and succeed, the results are transformative. A guaranteed income brings housing, stability, and connection to the community." Thanks for sharing the SOAR program, St. Elizabeth Shelter!


Suzanne Straub, the Clark County SOAR Coordinator in Washington, wrote in to share her praise of outreach worker Amanda Bradley! Suzanne writes:
"Amanda Bradley is an outreach worker for Share and is stationed at Lincoln Place. She attended our SOAR Training in August and since then has started working with her first two SOAR clients! Amanda has proven herself invaluable due to the fact that she knows sign language. Amanda has volunteered to assist with an individual who is hearing impaired discussed in our last two newsletters.
Amanda has helped other outreach workers communicate with this young man and is in the process of using the Vulnerability Assessment Tool to assess him for housing and is also looking into getting him help through Southwest Washington Center for the Deaf. Amanda's help with this man has assisted greatly with the language barrier that exists between him and other outreach staff.
Thank you Amanda for your continued willingness to be there when our clients need you. Thank you for teaching us what you know and for going above and beyond to ensure that everyone is taken care of and that no one falls through the cracks. You are greatly appreciated!"
Thank you for sharing, Suzanne and congratulations, Amanda! Do you have a success story you would like to share with the SOAR community? Share it with our team by completing a Community Spotlight and emailing it to!
Application deadline: February 10, 2017
The SOAR TA Center is accepting applications from criminal justice agencies and institutions that have not yet participated in the federally sponsored SOAR Technical Assistance Program that are interested in a SOAR planning and technical assistance opportunity.
February 14, 2017; 1:00 p.m. ET
The next SOARing Over Lunch Conference Call will take place Tuesday, February 14 at 1:00 p.m. ET! The SOAR TA Center is hosting a series of informal monthly calls designed to help support SOAR efforts across the country. Participants can call in to ask about any SOAR‐related question they may have.
February 15, 2017; 2:00-3:00 p.m. ET
This webinar will focus on tools created specifically to help providers start the conversation about employment with the people they serve. The SOAR and Peerlink TA Centers will also provide specific concrete details about Social Security's work incentive programs and ways to combat the myth that people with psychiatric disabilities can't or shouldn't work. 
Participants will learn:
  • about and how to use the SOAR Employment Conversation Guide and Yes, You Can Work! Tools;
  • specific Social Security work incentives designed to support and encourage employment for people receiving benefits; and
  • ways to use information to combat common myths related to accessing benefits and employment.

Webinar Recap: SOAR Webinar Series: Strengthening SOAR Applications through Strong Collaborations

The materials and recordings for the three-part 2016 SOAR webinar series on strengthening SOAR applications through strong collaborations are now online! In this series, participants learned about efforts that local communities have taken to build partnerships in order to improve SOAR applications. In Webinar I, participants learned about the installment of a dedicated staff person at Disability Determination Services to review SOAR claims. In Webinar II, participants learned how one town is sharing the Medical Summary Report with psychologists and doctors. In Webinar III, participants learned about developing strong working relationships with local SSA offices.

SOAR Leadership Academies

The SOAR TA Center is now accepting applications for all Leadership Academies. Contact your SOAR TA Center liaison with any questions.
  • May 2‐4, 2017: Portland, Maine
  • August 29‐31, 2017: Detroit, Michigan

Funding Corner

Expand SOAR Activities and Build Capacity with Interns!

When we think of ways to expand SOAR, we most often go directly towards thinking about ways to expand funding. While funding is always important, one of the most underutilized yet useful resources that can play an important part of growing your local SOAR infrastructure are interns!
Interns are an especially great resource to consider if your SOAR program is new and you have not developed a history of solid outcomes with which you can use as a base for resource requests. The fact is, most, if not all, SOAR programs are located close to colleges that have schools of social work and, if not, many community colleges offer programs, such as human services management. Both Bachelors level and Masters level interns are great for assisting with your SOAR initiative. Interns typically require a qualified person to supervise their work during the internship.
Using interns in your SOAR program is a win-win for everybody involved:
  • Your SOAR program will receive additional support to complete applications and to conduct local coordination activities
  • The interns will receive real-life experience that will help them as they progress in their careers
  • Additional applicants will be served with your expanded capacity
Are you interested in hiring your own intern? The first step is to speak with your SOAR TA Center Liaison who can provide support in engaging relevant educational intuitions and programs with your local SOAR planning activities (e.g., local steering committee). The SOAR TA Center can help provide you with the necessary materials to explain what SOAR is and how the relationship would be beneficial to your agency, the interns, and the educational institution. 
Path over a bright hill into sunrise
Close up of American flag
The revisions include redefining several key terms related to evidence, revising SSA's rules about acceptable medical sources, revising how SSA considers and articulates considerations of medical opinions and prior administrative medical findings, revising its rules about medical consultants and psychological consultants, revising its rules about treating sources, and reorganizing its evidence regulations for ease of use. Read the SOAR TA Center's analysis of the new regulations and contact Jen Elder, National Policy and Partnerships Coordinator, with any questions.
This website is designed to help incarcerated individuals successfully transition back into the community. As part of the Federal Interagency Reentry Council, SSA works with other federal agencies to provide information about available services, such as help finding a job or applying for possible benefits such as cash benefits, health care, food, and housing.
This booklet is for youth who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and their parents, teachers, health providers, caregivers, or representatives. It will help youth prepare for the transition from school to adult life. Many services and types of supports are available as youth prepare to transition to higher education and employment. This booklet will help youth identify supports available from Social Security and other federal and state agencies to help prepare for a successful transition to adulthood.
American Indian tribes are building more housing units after enactment of the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act of 1996 but housing conditions are substantially worse among American Indian households than other U.S. households. These are some of the findings of three new comprehensive reports of tribal housing needs released by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Urban Institute.

News from the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness

 United States Interagency 
 Council on Homelessness          
February 2, 2017

New Guidance to Help Communities Strengthen
Coordinated Entry Concept
Implementation of Coordinated Entry  

Coordinated entry is key to the effective and cost effective use of federal, state, and local resources. HUD's Notice outlines the requirements around coordinated entry that Continuums of Care must be able to meet by January 23, 2018. Read HUD's Notice
Coordinated entry processes offer the potential to more fully engage mainstream programs. We've developed a companion guide on building effective partnerships with those critical resources, and sample housing assessment questions that can be used by such programs.  

USICH, HUD, and VA Release Updates to Criteria and Benchmarks for Ending Veteran Homelessness  
After a year of engaging with communities and reviewing their accomplishments, we've made some updates to the criteria and benchmarks for ending Veteran homelessness in order to be clearer about expectations and intentions.

Addressing the Intersection of the Opioid Crisis and Homelessness
Stethoscope Leaders in rural, suburban, and urban communities across the country are grappling with the effects of a worsening opioid crisis, which may also be contributing to rates of homelessness in some communities. USICH has been coordinating a federal interagency working group to find ways to help communities respond.
Management and Program Analyst Brittani Manzo has pulled together resources and strategies that communities can use in their local response to the opioid crisis among people at risk or experiencing homelessness.

Mayors Continue to Lead the Charge
U.S. Conference of Mayors After spending time recently with mayors from across the nation, Executive Director Matthew Doherty reflects on their unwavering commitment to progress despite the tough issues facing their communities.

Read about how mayors - and other local officials - are helping lead the way forward and the USICH tools that can support those efforts.

Has Your Community Done Research on Rapid Re-Housing? We Need Your Help! 

As part of national efforts to understand and strengthen rapid re-housing interventions for individuals and families experiencing homelessness, HUD contracted with Abt Associates to review local, state, and national research studies that cover rapid re-housing programs of any size.

Please send any studies to Korrin Bishop by February 6.