Tell Your Senator to Protect USICH

This week we got a first look at the Senate's proposed FY2019 budget for federal homelessness programs. This new draft from the Senate Transportation and Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee is great news overall — it makes real investments in ending homelessness through increased spending on McKinney-Vento homeless assistance grants and housing choice vouchers.

But it has one glaring flaw: it fails to reauthorize the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) and would force it to shut down in 2020.

We must call on the Senate to reauthorize USICH and continue its funding.

USICH's budget is only $3.6 million — this modest sum funds the only federal agency with the sole responsibility of ending homelessness. USICH works across 19 federal agencies and departments and with partners in both the public and private sectors. Its vital work reduces bureaucracy, boosts efficiency, and improves the outcomes of federal spending on homelessness. USICH is essential to the effort to end homelessness.

Please take a moment to tell your senator not to shut down USICH. Click here to submit a letter to your senator!
Send a Letter

Our mailing address is:
National Alliance to End Homelessness
1518 K St. NW 2nd Floor
Washington, DC 20005

SOAR Webinar Series on Completing Quality SOAR Applications

Plus a SOAR success in Minnesota
Plus a SOAR success in Minnesota
June E-News

SOAR Enhances Recovery by Providing a Pathway to Employment

Working is a critical step in the recovery process for people with serious mental illness. While 66 percent of people with a serious mental illness want to work, only 15 percent are working. Competitive employment through Individual Placement and Support leads to increased income, improved self-esteem, and improved quality of life.
SOAR can be the link between benefits and employment! Maximizing income supports through an integration of benefits and employment increases housing stability for people with serious mental illness. Careful benefits planning while utilizing Social Security's work incentives helps increase an individual's income while maintaining benefits. Individuals with serious mental illness can work while applying for and receiving Social Security Disability benefits. SOAR promotes myth busting and benefits planning as essential elements of community efforts to assist individuals experiencing homelessness who have a serious mental illness.
Find out more in our new infographic (or view the text alternative) and share with your community partners! We will be highlighting successful community SOAR initiatives in our upcoming newsletters. Want us to feature your community? Tell us about it!

Sharing Our Successes

Using the Listings to Assist an Artist in Minnesota

Jon Katherine Martins of Emma Norton Services in St. Paul, Minnesota shared a beautiful success story:
My client is a visual artist. I have seen many marvelous examples of her work. Her dream is to have her own loft/studio in St. Paul, Minnesota where she can devote her life to making art. That dream has been illusive for her because of her mental illness, inability to work, and the experience of homelessness. 
While working on her SOAR Social Security Disability (SSDI) application, she was reluctant to talk about the trauma she had experienced. She was quick to anger when she felt that I did not understand her mental illness and would often present with paranoia and a guarded reluctance to share any personal information. I also learned that she had periods when there where gaps in her memory, and that these gaps where filled by other personality states. In the course of our work together, I was introduced to and interacted with at least five distinct people.
Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) does not have a specific listing. In order to qualify, I concentrated on how her signs and symptoms, in her medical records, met or equaled the following listings:
  • 12.04 Depressive, bipolar and related disorders
  • 12.06 Anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorders
  • 12.08 Personality and impulse-control disorders
  • 12.15 Trauma- and stressor-related disorders 

I then related how her signs and symptoms impaired her functioning. I did this through the things my client said, my own observations, and those observations of other providers. In addition, because DID usually develops in response to a traumatic event or events and being mindful that stress could worsen her symptoms and cause greater problems with functioning, I developed as safe and as trusting an environment as I possibly could. The greatest compliment that she paid me was, "I trust you."
I received notice in May that my client was approved for SSDI. Because Social Security set her entitlement date in 2016, she has received back pay in an amount that is over $24,000. She will also receive over $1,400 each month. Using the SOAR process and all the SOAR tools that were at my disposal worked for this client. And through that process and those tools, her dream of a home to make art can come true.
Do you have a success story that you would like featured in a SOAR eNews? Use our new form (with easy-to-follow prompts!) to submit it to the SOAR TA Center!
Submit Your SOAR Success

SOAR Job Postings

Rhode Island

AmeriCorps VISTA/The Kent Center is hiring a full-time SOAR Development VISTA. Join a fun and collaborative team working throughout Rhode Island to improve the quality of life for individuals with a serious persistent mental illness who are experiencing homelessness. The SOAR VISTA project requires members for activities, such as grant writing, training, and needs assessments.
Learn more about this posting on the SOARWorks website. Do you have a job posting you would like to share with the SOAR community? Submit it to the SOAR TA Center!


SOARing Over Lunch Conference Calls

July 10, 2018; 1:00 p.m. ET
The next SOARing Over Lunch Conference Call will take place July 10 at 1:00 p.m. ET! The SAMHSA SOAR TA Center hosts this series of informal monthly calls designed to help support SOAR efforts across the country. Participants can login to ask about any SOAR-related question they may have. 
Add SOARing Over Lunch to Your Calendar

SOAR Webinar Series on Completing Quality SOAR Applications

The SAMHSA SOAR TA Center is hosting a webinar series on completing quality SOAR applications. This series will walk SOAR providers through two different aspects of a quality SSI/SSDI disability application—documenting work history information and using Social Security's Listings.
  • Using the Listings: June 27, 2018; 3:00-4:30 p.m. ET. This webinar will focus on how caseworkers can optimize medical records collection and approach SSA's Listings of Impairments for expediting their SOAR claim.
  • Using Vocational Information: This webinar, held on April 25, 2018 addressed strategies for obtaining accurate work history information.
Register for the June 27 Webinar

Recent Stories from the SOAR Voices Blog

A DDS Approval in 4 Hours!
Using SOAR to Help End Youth Homelessness

Federal Updates

VA Updates Disability Rating Schedule to Better Align with Modern Medicine

Effective May 13, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will update portions of the VA Schedule for Rating Disabilities (VASRD, or rating schedule) that evaluates the organs of special sense eye conditions, as well as gynecological conditions and disorders of the breast. The VASRD is the collection of federal regulations used by Veterans Benefits Administration claims processors to evaluate the severity of disabilities and assign disability ratings. VA is in the process of updating all 15 body systems of the VASRD to more accurately reflect modern medicine and provide clearer rating decisions.

Funding Corner

New Resource: Developing a Competitive SAMHSA Grant Application

A new manual, Developing a Competitive SAMHSA Grant Application, is available for SAMHSA grant applicants. This manual provides applicants with valuable information about how to prepare strong SAMHSA grant applications.

Notice: SAMHSA Releases New Guidance for Potential Grantees

SAMHSA's application procedures have changed, and all applicants must now register with NIH's eRA Commons in order to submit an application. This process can take up to 6 weeks. If you believe you are interested in applying for any SAMHSA funding opportunity in the future—you MUST start the registration process immediately. 

Resources from the Field

A Youth Perspective on Recovery-Oriented Practice

These are some big questions that don't have simple answers. The Mental Health Commission of Canada's (MHCC) Youth Council sought out to unpack some questions about providing quality, recovery-oriented services to a young person through an animated video Food for thought: A youth perspective on recovery-oriented practice and an accompanying discussion guide. In these materials, the MHCC's Youth Council provided a youth perspective on how youth would like to be engaged in and receive recovery-oriented mental health and addiction services.
Recovery in mental health refers to living a satisfying, hopeful, and contributing life, even when a person may be experiencing ongoing symptoms of a mental health problem or illness. In a recovery-oriented system, service providers engage in shared decision-making, offering a range of services and supports to fully meet a person's goals and needs. Recovery is different for each individual and is particularly unique when working with youth.
Food for Thought: A Youth Perspective on Recovery-Oriented Practice
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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.

TOMORROW-- SAMHSA Care Coordination for OTPs: “Building a Roadmap for Success: Part 1” Webinar on June 7th

JOIN US TOMORROW FOR THE THIRD WEBINAR IN SAMHSA CARE COORDINATION FOR OTPS WEBINAR SERIES -- Innovative and Integrated Treatment Models: Increasing Impact of Opioid Treatment Programs (OTPs) through Care Coordination

Webinar 3 – Building a Roadmap for Success: Part 1
Thursday June 7th, 2018
1:00-2:30 pm ET

Are you an OTP provider interested in enhancing services for your patients? Or do you have a full continuum of behavioral health or primary healthcare and are interested in integrating opioid treatment into your system?

Join us for the third webinar in SAMHSA's Care Coordination for OTPs webinar series: "Building a Roadmap for Success: Part 1." During this webinar, you will hear from Linda Hurley, CEO/President of the CODAC Behavioral Health in Cranston, RI, about implementing care coordination activities in an OTP setting and how to take the first steps in developing a plan that will lead to implementation of care coordination activities. This webinar will focus on how to choose partners, developing your strategic plan, and setting your goals and defining metrics for determining success.

Recordings of the first two webinars in this series "Care Coordination 101" and "Case Studies from the Field" will be available under the Care Coordination for OTPs- A five-part webinar series playlist on SAMHSA's YouTube page. All webinars in this series will be recorded and posted to this playlist.

Stay tuned for dates and registration information for future webinars in this series! Please send questions regarding webinar registration to:

JOBS: Housing Specialist (Baltimore, MD)

Facility: Weinberg Housing & Resource Center, 620 Fallsway Baltimore, MD 21202
Department: Weinberg Resource Center - 620 Fallsway, Baltimore, MD 21202
Schedule: Full time
Shift: Evening shift w/ weekend work
Hours: Tues.-Fri.1p-9p/Sat.9a-5p
Job Details:
Bachelors degree is required
Current driver's license w/ no more than 3 points
2-3 years related experience
Must be at least 21 years old
 Position is grant funded through February, 2020 with possibility of renewal
Under general supervision of the Manager of Client Services, the Housing Specialist will assist residents who are residing at WHRC Emergency Shelter with a "Housing First" approach to assist them in becoming housed as quickly as possible. The Housing Specialist will assist clients with their housing search and placement along with providing casework services and leveraging supportive services that will assist the participant to maintain permanent housing. The Housing Specialist provides a variety of office activities to manage and monitor the housing program, performs direct client services, and compiles related documentation. The work involves orienting all eligible participants to the program, providing housing searches with clients, and providing supportive services to promote participants self-sufficiency, integration into the community, and permanency in housing, as well as performing administrative tasks involved in the review and maintenance of a caseload of program participant. This individual is responsible for maintaining program data in Client Track (HMIS).


Client Services
·        Assess housing barriers of individuals experiencing homelessness to determine housing and   service needs.
·        Work with clients and their assigned Emergency Shelter Case Manager to develop a housing procurement,financial, and self-sufficiency case management plan. This shall include an intake interview to determine client'sneeds, goals and eligibility.
·        Assist participants in locating and securing rental housing of their choice.
·        Assist in development of and encourage adherence to a personal budget through pro-active housing and budgetcounseling sessions; provide budget counseling and education to assist clients in establishing payment plans forbills, paying off past debts and to assist clients in maintaining their housing.
·        Assist participants in development of a strength-based/solution focused individualized goal and action plan thatpromotes permanent housing and self-sufficiency.
·        Help client identify strengths and barriers to stability and assist participant to reduce barriers and linking toresources and services.
·        Apply knowledge of residential lease contracts to educate clients of their housing rights and responsibilities.
·        Provide information and referral assistance regarding available support from appropriate social serviceagencies and/or community programs.
·        Provide Navigation and Assessment Services for Coordinated Access.
·        Responsible to create open houses for landlords to meet perspective clients.
Landlord/Community Relations
·        Recruit, develop and maintain a group of landlords who are willing to rent to clients with housing barriers.
·        Provide mediation and advocacy with landlords on the client's behalf to develop a workable plan to obtainand/or maintain housing.
·        Create and maintain consistent communication channels, both verbal and written, between several parties (i.e.tenant, landlord, referral source, collaborating agencies, debtors and creditors).
·        Serve as ongoing liaison between property managers and participants as well as participants and neighbors.
Other Responsibilities
·        Maintain accurate daily logs and records, monthly outcome reports, and files for each client.
·        Ensure that an environmental evaluation has been completed on each property prior to the client signing a lease.
·        Ensure that each rental property is at or below HUD's Fair Market Rent prior to the client signing a lease anda Rent Reasonableness evaluation has been completed.
·        Ensure that each property is inspected through the local Housing Authority prior to the client moving into theproperty and any problems are addressed quickly.
·        Collect and report program data, including but not limited to agency systems, HMIS and funders' required data.
·        Accurately complete all assigned monthly and annual report forms.
·        Participate in MOHS Coordinated Access workgroup and attend all trainings regarding Coordinated Access.
·        Assume other responsibilities as assigned.
Bachelor's degree in Human Services, Social Work, Business Management or related field and two years of related experience   with vulnerable populations or the equivalent combination of an Associate's Degree in Human Services, Social Work, Business Administration or related field and 4 or more years' experience working with vulnerable population. At least one year of experience working with homeless or low income families is desired. Must have ability to communicate effectively in oral and written form; organize and prioritize work; develop beneficial working relationships with landlords; pay attention to details; work independently and as a productive member of a team; and meet established deadlines and goals. Competent computer literacy including a working knowledge of word processing, database management and ability to use e-mail and the internet effectively. Must present a warm and welcoming attitude towards clients, volunteers, staff and landlords. This position requires intermittent sitting, standing, bending and lifting 15-20 lbs. and the ability to move freely throughout buildings   including using stairs, and to travel between the office and locations in the region in a timely and efficient manner. Must have visual and hearing acuity and clear speech sufficient to perform the essential functions of the job efficiently. Must possess a valid driver's license with no more than 3 points. Ability to work flexible schedule as needed and be accessible by phone.
  • Requires a belief in the "Housing First" approach and willingness to fully apply Housing First principles to this program
  • Excellent communication skills, particularly listening, mediation, and writing skills.
  • Possess strong organizational skills with ability to meet a demanding workload
  • Detail oriented to complete requirement of files and contract compliance
  • Creative thinker/adaptive personality
  • Knowledge or understanding of tenant's rights and responsibilities
  • Knowledge of community resources, social service agencies, and landlords
  • Knowledge of Motivational Interviewing and Trauma Informed Care
  • A commitment to empowering others to solve their own problems and a conviction in the capacity of people to grow andchange.
  • The ability to work collaboratively with other personnel and/or service providers or professionals.
  • The capacity to maintain a role to empower client and to intervene appropriately to meet service goals.
  • Fluency in English language is required. Spanish speaking is an added asset, but is not required.
The responsibilities of this position must be consistently performed using the following behaviors:
1. Honor and respect the Dignity of every person.
2. Encounter each person with Compassion.
3. Act with Humility.
4. Reach out to others in a spirit of Collaboration.
5. Serve with Excellence.
6. Act with Integrity in everything you do.
Catholic Charities of Baltimore is an equal opportunity employer.