August 2018 NCHV eNewsletter

August 2018 NCHV eNewsletter
NCHV is ending homelessness among veterans by shaping public policy, promoting collaboration, and building the capacity of service providers
Harbor Freight Tools Accepting Donation Requests from Veteran Causes
Harbor Freight Tools supports veteran-related nonprofit organizations that by donating gift cards to Harbor Freight, which can be utilized in employment training/assistance efforts, maintenance and renovation, or anything else your organization or the veterans you serve may need. Harbor Freight carries a wide variety of quality tools and related items available at the lowest prices.

Hill Watch: Appropriations Update - August Recess Slows Process
With Congress out for much of August, there has been little movement on funding the government since our last Hill Watch. Below is a summary of where the process had left off as of our last communication: 

House Proposed
HUD-VASH $40m in new vouchers
SSVF $340m
GPD $257m
HVRP $50m

Senate Proposed
HUD-VASH $40m in new vouchers
SSVF $450m
GPD $257m
HVRP $50m

These figures are good news. Both the House and Senate have independently committed to increases in HUD-VASH and HVRP funding, indicating a high likelihood of the final funding levels for FY 2019 matching those above. GPD is under no threat of cuts and is slated to remain funded at its current level. The only section in doubt is SSVF: With the House recommending a flat funding level of $340 million, and the Senate recommending an increase to $450 million, the final number is currently impossible to project.

As for the legislative vehicles for these proposals, they are contained in three separate packages. First, GPD and SSVF: as VA funded programs, they are appropriated for in the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs (MilCon/VA) bill. Right now, that bill number is H.R. 5895. Both the House and Senate have passed their own versions of that bill, and it is now in conference. Despite the early progress this bill had made, immediately after the conference committee convened a problem developed which has put that process on ice. To read more about the road block, see this July 12 reporting by the Military Times:

HVRP, funded by the Department of Labor, is appropriated for in the Labor/HHS/Education bill numbered H.R. 6470 and S. 3158 in the House and Senate respectively. HUD-VASH, specifically the HUD voucher portion, is funded through the Transportation/HUD bill, currently numbered as H.R. 6072 and S. 3023. Of all of these bills, only the MilCon/VA bill is to the conference stage; the HUD and DOL bills have yet to receive floor votes in their chambers. 

With Congress returning soon from its August break, the process of funding the government is entering the final stretch before the traditional deadline of Sept. 30. It remains to be seen if that deadline will be met, or if continuing resolutions will push it back into the winter. Stay tuned to NCHV's email blasts for up-to-date information. 
Webinar: Home, Together: The Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness
The U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) has released the updated federal strategic plan to prevent and end homelessness, Home Together. To introduce the updated plan, USICH hosted a webinar to discuss the plan's objectives and to answer questions. A recording of the webinar, along with the presentation slides, are now available on the USICH website. Home Together was created with the feedback and input of experts and stakeholders involved in ending homelessness in communities across the country, and draws upon best practices and what has been proven to work. USICH also made it known that they are constantly seeking feedback from the field, to adapt and update the plan, help address challenges, and share resources and strategies that have proven to be successful.

Addressing Social Determinants of Health: Exploring Implications for Policy through the VHA's Universal Screening for Housing Instability Among Veteran Outpatients
Join the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for Addressing Social Determinants of Health: Exploring Implications for Policy through the Veterans Health Administration's Universal Screening for Housing Instability Among Veteran Outpatients, on Thursday, Sept. 13, 1:00-2:30 p.m. ET.
Join the meeting online at, call
1-800-767-1750 and use access code 70207# for the audio
VA has been a leader in incorporating screening in the health care setting to assess social determinants of veterans' health, including assessing for lack of stable housing, intimate partner violence (IPV), military sexual trauma (MST), and food insecurity. Many studies have cited the importance of screening for these conditions and have identified appropriate responses; however, little research has focused on how that happens in practice.
A study of the Veterans Health Administration's (VHA) universal screen for housing instability has examined veterans' perceptions of this particular social experience to determine whether screening tools and methods measure the appropriate concepts and connect patients with appropriate interventions. In this research symposium, we will hear from researchers who have conducted this study: they will describe how the process works for clinical providers, social workers, and the veterans themselves. What is working well? What happens when a veteran screens positive for homelessness or risk? How do different social risks intersect and interact?
The implications of the research for policy and practice—and its relevance to addressing other social determinants of health within the health care setting—will be discussed in this roundtable panel of researchers and leaders in the VHA.
Now Available for Pre-order: The First Comprehensive Book on Veteran Homelessness
Homelessness Among U.S. Veterans: Critical Perspectives, edited by Jack Tsai, summarizes over a decade of research featuring 25 national experts covering topics like mental illness and substance use, primary care, criminal justice, money management, mortality, and information technology.

The book will be published by Oxford University Press and will be available in hard copy December 2018. Pre-orders can be made now.

Ordering Details: Get 30% off with the promo code "AMPROMD9" by ordering through Oxford. The book is also available on Amazon.
Funding Opportunities
Barbasol has a charitable foundation that provides grants for community food banks, homeless shelters, and other social services. These grants have primarily been awarded around Ashland and Columbus, OH, however, the foundation is open to offers from elsewhere. The grant applications deadlines are Jan. 10 and June 10, and grants open again every calendar year.

Charles Lafitte Foundation offers grants to organizations that promote inclusiveness while looking to alleviate human problems. There is no geographic or monetary limit on this grant, all grants applications will be considered. Grant applications are accepted year round.

National Coalition for Homeless Veterans | 1-800-VET-HELP |
1730 M Street NW, Suite 705, Washington, DC 20036 |

Final webinar in SAMHSA's Care Coordination for OTPs Series -- this Monday 8/27


Innovative and Integrated Treatment Models: Increasing Impact of Opioid Treatment
Programs (OTPs) through Care Coordination

Webinar 5:  Pulling it All Together – Action Steps for Implementation

Monday August 27, 2018
1:00 – 2:30 PM Eastern (10:00 – 11:30 AM Pacific)

Register today at

Join us for the final session in SAMHSA’s webinar series on increasing the impact of opioid treatment programs (OTPs) by enhancing care coordination.  In this webinar you will hear presentations from two providers who have implemented care coordination activities in an OTP setting.  They will present participants with action steps for implementation, including implications for staffing,
workflows, and other aspects of running a practice.

Speakers are:

John Brooklyn, M.D. – University of Vermont, Burlington VT

Dr. Brooklyn is affiliated with the University of Vermont College of Medicine as Clinical Faculty and has been involved with research on cocaine and heroin treatments, including buprenorphine for decades. As a Family Practitioner specializing in Addiction Medicine, his work includes integrating substance use treatment into primary care by using a learning collaborative strategy and using innovation to transform the delivery of treatment of opioid use disorders throughout Vermont and the US.

Linda Hurley – CEO/President, CODAC Behavioral Healthcare, Cranston RI

Ms. Hurley has worked in the substance use disorders treatment field for over 25 years, and became CODAC Behavioral Healthcare’s CEO/President in 2016.  Under her leadership, CODAC was the first OTP in the nation to receive health home certification, and was the first Rhode Island OTP to be designated as a Center of Excellence.  She has consulted for state and federal agencies, including SAMHSA.

Register today at

Headlines: Opioid Overdose Prevention Toolkit Available in Spanish

August 23, 2018
SAMHSA Headlines—Your one-stop source for the latest from SAMHSA.


Opioid Overdose Prevention Toolkit Available in Spanish

SAMHSA announces the release of the Spanish translation of the updated Opioid Overdose Prevention Toolkit. This toolkit offers strategies to health care providers, communities, and local governments for developing practices and policies to help prevent opioid-related overdoses and deaths. Because interdisciplinary collaboration is critical to success, resources and information are specifically tailored for community members, prescribers, patients and families, and those recovering from opioid overdose.

Online Training Course - Service to Self: Behavioral Health for Fire and EMS Personnel

This new, online training course includes videos featuring emergency medical technicians and fire personnel, scenarios, and interactive quizzes. The course addresses occupational stressors; mental health and substance use issues including depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, suicidality, and alcohol use; resilience; and healthy coping mechanisms including demonstrations of stress management techniques. It is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Pre-Hospital Continuing Education (CAPCE) for continuing education credit. Learn more about all of SAMHSA's training courses for first responders.


Join the Recovery LIVE! Virtual Event: Implementing Best Practices and Quality Standards in Recovery Housing

August 23, 2018 | 2 – 3 p.m. Eastern Time
Join Bringing Recovery Supports to Scale Technical Assistance Center Strategy (BRSS TACS) for a Recovery LIVE! virtual event on best practices and quality standards in recovery housing. A growing body of research supports the effectiveness of recovery housing in sustaining abstinence and promoting long-term recovery for individuals with substance use disorders and co-occurring mental illness and substance use disorders. 

Webinar on Securing and Using the Right Data To Improve Your State's Mental Health Block Grant Application

August 27, 2018 | 12:30  2 p.m. Eastern Time
Join SAMHSA for part II of the Technical Assistance Coalition webinar series with the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors for a discussion on the importance of the relationship between the block grant planner and the state data manager/staff. Webinar presenters will share a brief history of the Mental Health Block Grant (MHBG), the Data Infrastructure Grant, and the Uniform Reporting System. 

Innovative and Integrated Treatment Models: Increasing Impact of Opioid Treatment Programs (OTPs) Through Care Coordination

August 27, 2018 | 1 – 2:30 p.m. Eastern Time
Join SAMHSA for the final webinar in SAMHSA's Care Coordination for Opioid Treatment Programs (OTPs) by Enhancing Care Coordination. Two providers who have implemented care coordination activities in an OTP setting will present action steps for implementation, including implications for staffing, workflows, and other aspects of running a practice system. 

National Recovery Month 2018 and SAMHSA's Kick-Off Event

September 6, 2018 | 10 a.m. Eastern Time
Join SAMHSA's kick-off for Recovery Month on September 6 at 10.a.m. ET, through a livestream event. Panelists will discuss the benefits that their SAMHSA-funded treatment and recovery programs bring to their community. The kick-off event exemplifies the 2018 Recovery Month theme, "Join the Voices for Recovery: Invest in Health, Home, Purpose, and Community," which explores how integrated care, a strong community, sense of purpose, and leadership contributes to effective treatments that sustain the recovery of persons with mental and substance use disorders. For more information on Recovery Month, or to access materials or find events in your community, visit the Recovery Month website at

Recent SAMHSA Blogs

This School Year, Let's Erase Bullying

As children across the country are starting their school years, let's be sure to equip them with the tools to help prevent bullying.

August Local Lead Ledger


You've Collected Outcomes, Now What?

Congratulations! You have successfully tracked and reported your community's SOAR outcomes and hopefully you have some great numbers to show for all your hard work! But, alas, a SOAR Local Lead's job is never done. Once you've finished your outcomes collection happy dance, it's time to take a look at that data and determine next steps.
Evaluate SOAR data to identify technical assistance (TA) or training needs. Key things to look for:
  • Providers with low approval rates
  • Providers who were not using all of the SOAR critical components
  • Applications with longer than average decision times
  • Trends in reasons for denial (e.g. earning SGA, no significant impairment, etc.)
  • Geographic areas or agencies where you can implement a quality review process
  • Agencies or case managers who did not report their data in the Online Application Tracking (OAT) system this year (for states that use OAT)
Next, reach out to those agencies and case managers who may need additional TA and set up a phone or in-person meeting. Targeted TA may include:
  • Holding a SOAR Online Course Review Session or a targeted training on SOAR critical components, such as a Medical Summary Report (MSR) refresher training
  • Reviewing MSRs for newly-trained case managers or those who have lower than average approval rates
  • Holding a SOAR Orientation for referral sources and customizing the SOAR Referral Tool for your community
  • Reviewing the SOAR critical components and your community's SOAR process
  • Meeting with your local SSA and DDS contacts to discuss trends in denial reasons, case processing times, and any barriers arising in the local or state SOAR process
  • Facilitating an OAT Orientation for those providers who need to begin using OAT to track SOAR outcomes
From your outreach and data collection efforts, refine your list of SOAR-trained providers who are actively completing SSI/SSDI applications and move any providers who are no longer using SOAR to an archived list for your records. Additionally, review the list of OAT users and determine who is no longer active; e-mail the list of inactive users to your SOAR TA Center liaison, so that we can deactivate their OAT account.

Finally, identify areas or agencies within your community that you feel could benefit from SOAR expansion.
  • Which geographic areas of your community or state are underserved by SOAR-trained providers?
  • Are there regions that report high rates of homelessness, but do not have enough case managers providing SOAR assistance? 
  • Can you expand partnerships with organizations that serve justice-involved persons, Veterans, or youth?
Celebrating Success
As you are analyzing your SOAR data, don't forget to celebrate SOAR success in your community! Be sure to recognize those case managers, agencies, and community partners who went above and beyond this year. Consider adding SOAR Standout Awards to your next meeting, such as: 
  • Most approvals in 2018 (for case managers and agencies)
  • SOAR "Newbie" of the Year
  • Outstanding SSA/DDS Partner
  • Outstanding Hospital/Health Center Partner
  • Outstanding SOAR Mentor

SOARing Successes from Connecticut

As we move into Fiscal Year 2019, we wanted to start it off with SOAR success stories from some tremendous case managers in Connecticut!  

Advocacy Leads to Approval

Bob experienced homelessness for decades, living in the woods, garages, wherever. PATH engaged him and finally coaxed him into the emergency shelter. Once engaged, he was referred to the SOAR Program. His application was initially denied because the SSA/DDS workers overlooked some paperwork.  His SOAR worker advocated for him, and his case was reopened rather than denied and he was approved for SSDI. He is also receiving permanent supportive housing and will move into his new apartment shortly. As a result of his SSDI and engaging with outreach workers, he has been able to address his medical and mental health needs.

SOAR Success for a Child In Need

Beth experienced domestic violence, as did her child in the household, and becoming homeless was very confusing for them both. Referred to a SOAR worker for the child's application, SSI was sought and granted. Having a stable income via the SSI in the household and now a housing subsidy, Mom has been looking for employment. She also finds that she can pay for the little things for her and her child, like toilet paper and toothpaste. 

SOAR Online Course: Child Curriculum - Beta Testing

Are you interested in beta testing the new SOAR Online Course: Child Curriculum?  If so please complete this survey and the SOAR TA Center will follow-up early this fall regarding this opportunity.  

New Veteran Resources

SOAR and Veterans Infographic

This infographic highlights the SOAR TA Center's collaborations with the VA and other national Veterans programs to increase access to SSI/SSDI for Veterans. 

Income and Benefits Calculator

If you have not already downloaded the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' new Income and Benefits Calculator it is a great tool for beneficiaries of Social Security disability benefits who are considering returning to work! The calculator helps demonstrate how income from employment and/or VA disability benefits will affect SSI or SSDI.  

SOARing Over Lunch Calls

  • Wednesday, September 19, 2018, 1:00-2:00pm ET
  • Tuesday, October 9, 2018, 1:00-2:00pm ET
  • Tuesday, November 13, 2018, 1:00-2:00pm ET
  • Click here for more information

Recent Webinars to Watch

Understanding and Using Vocational Information for Quality SOAR Applications

On this webinar, we discussed how useful vocational evaluations and assessments are when assisting an individual with an SSI/SSDI application using the SOAR model. Participants heard from SOAR providers and a DDS representative who shared a variety of vocational resources that can improve disability applications but are also helpful for explaining vocational opportunities for SOAR applicants.

Using Medical Records and Listings for Quality SOAR Applications

This webinar featured two SOAR providers and one DDS supervisor who shared the results of one SOAR claim that moved quickly through the initial determination process. What was the secret to their success? Tune in to hear more about their winning strategy! Here's a hint: Good organization and communication!
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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 develops and distributes the Local Lead Ledger 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..