SOAR is a key part of a systemic response to ending youth homelessness and represents an innovative model for increasing income and housing stability for youth who have disabling conditions, particularly for those exiting foster care.
Integrating SOAR into your proposal to end youth homelessness:
1. Bring SOAR providers to the table and find creative ways to work across systems
Identify which populations currently have access to SOAR services and where increased access is needed, such as in the child welfare system, runaway and homeless youth programs, and juvenile corrections systems
To reduce gaps in the system, SOAR-trained street outreach workers are authorized as a new project under the Supportive Services Only project type and could serve youth across the entire area
2. Nominate youth who have benefited from SOAR to the Youth Action Board to increase the voice of youth with disabling conditions in Continuum of Care (CoC) policy decisions
The YHDP requires communities to create a Youth Action Board, consisting of a minimum of three members aged 24 or younger, at least two-thirds of whom are homeless or formerly homeless
Youth with experience in going through the SOAR process are uniquely equipped to provide insights into increasing access to benefits and using SSA’s work incentives to explore work and educational opportunities
3. Create a plan for reaching out to youth exiting foster care and assisting them to apply for SSA benefits
4. Utilize data from the SOAR Online Application Tracking (OAT) program to demonstrate how your community has increased access to SSA benefits and housing for individuals up to age 24
Demonstrating that your community has been successful in addressing systemic challenges to ending homelessness, such as increasing income and housing stability for those with disabling conditions, is a key part of the YHDP and SOAR data can help show community progress
Describing how your community implemented the SOAR model can be a great example of using innovation to transform systems!
If your community will be responding to this opportunity, we’d love to hear how you are incorporating SOAR into your plans! We encourage you to reach out for support from your SOAR TA Center Liaison as you develop your proposal to prevent and end youth homelessness.