SAMHSA’s SOAR program assists states and localities to expedite access to the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) disability programs -- Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) -- for persons who are homeless or at risk for homelessness and who have a mental illness, a co-occurring substance use disorder or other serious medical condition. Currently, all 50 states participate in the federally sponsored SOAR technical assistance (TA).
CoCs are invited to submit a brief, 3-5 page application in response to the Request for Applications (RFA) to participate in the SOAR TA Project by November 17, 2017. A message of interest and intent to file an application is requested, but not required, by October 24, 2017. Please click here to see the documents referred to in the RFA. You can also view a recording of the CoC Kick-Off/Informational Webinar held on October 24.
Participation in SOAR requires local commitment and collaboration while working closely with the SOAR State Team Lead to ensure that the effort is consistent with that of other communities in the state. In many states, the local and/or balance of state CoCs are actively involved in SOAR implementation at both the state and local levels. Some examples include:
New York, New York - New York City’s Coalition on the Continuum of Care is working to expand SOAR throughout the city via partnerships between the continuum, NYC’s Department of Homeless Services and agencies throughout the city that serve individuals experiencing or at risk of homelessness. The city has two SOAR local leads who organize bimonthly steering committee meetings as well as a SOAR Stakeholder’s Summit to further gain buy in for SOAR among city agencies.
Houston, Texas – The Way Home of Houston is spearheading the area’s SOAR initiative. They are using SOAR to increase their capacity to connect disabled individuals experiencing homelessness to work and benefits through their Income Now Initiative. As part of this plan, they are hiring 4-6 dedicated SOAR specialists.
Northern Arizona –The Arizona Department of Housing has established an infrastructure for SOAR within the Arizona Balance of State CoC which covers over 96,000 square miles. Catholic Charities of Northern Arizona in Cottonwood, AZ is a key member of the local SOAR steering committee, providing leadership and dedicated SOAR specialists.
Sonoma County, California - To gain buy-in for SOAR prior to the forum, the local lead reached out to local agencies to discuss the value of SOAR with executive directors and program managers and to assess who in the community was currently assisting applicants with benefits acquisition. After the forum, a SOAR steering committee was established as a subset of the CoC. They meet regularly to work through their action plan and to continue to promote SOAR. Additionally, the SOAR local lead has held successful SOAR training cohorts - there are now SOAR case managers at various agencies throughout the county.
For more information or if you have questions about the RFA, please contact Kristin Lupfer, Project Director, SAMHSA SOAR Technical Assistance Center via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 518-439-7415, ext. 5262.