SOAR Voices


Using SOAR to Help End Youth Homelessness

Over the past couple of years, there have been tremendous efforts to obtain a more complete picture of homelessness for individuals under age 25 and identify effective interventions. Through the 2017 Point-in-Time (PIT) Count and the Voices of Youth Count led by Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago, we’ve learned the following:


A DDS Approval in 4 Hours!

By Kate Baasch, M.A., ATR-BC, L.P.C., Senior Case Manager & Art Therapist at Miriam's Kitchen in Washington, D.C.

Miriam's Kitchen is thrilled to share this recent SOAR success. Disability Determination Services (DDS) decided a Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claim for us in 4 hours and the number of days from application submission to decision was 35! Here's how it happened:


It’s National Social Security Month!

By Everett Lo, Social Security Administration’s Regional Public Affairs Office in the New York Region

National Social Security Month is celebrated in April and is dedicated to educating you about Social Security programs and services.  From programs that help support you through life’s journey, to services that help put you in control, to systems that help protect what’s important to you, Social Security is committed to helping secure today and tomorrow for you and your family.


SOAR Practitioner to SOAR TA Center Liaison

My work as a SOAR Practitioner has been life-changing, not only for the people I have had the privilege to serve, but for me as well. In 2010, my first “real” job out of college was as a “SOAR Specialist” for my local Community Mental Health Center in Macomb County, a suburb just outside Detroit, Michigan. Over the course of my career, I have been able to help over 200 clients, some family members, and even a couple of acquaintances secure the benefits they so desperately needed to support themselves and their families.


SOAR Spotlight: Amanda Starkey

Name: Amanda Starkey

Title: Project Associate

Specialty area: SOAR

Location: Grosse Pointe Woods, Michigan

How long have you been working for the SOAR TA Center?

I’ve been a contractor since January 2015, and more recently became a Project Associate in November of 2017.

What states do you work with?


National Social Work Month--2018

Social Work Month in March looks at the vital role of social workers in improving our society. This year’s theme is “Social Workers: Leaders. Advocates. Champions."  The campaign will inform the public and legislators about the crucial role social workers have played in improving the well-being of people for generations, helping our nation become a better place to live. Every day, the nation's 680,000 social workers act as advocates, champions, and leaders who make our society a better place to live. 


2017 National Health Care for the Homeless Conference and Policy Symposium

Every year, thousands of providers, policymakers, consumers, and other advocates gather at the annual National Health Care for the Homeless Conference and Policy Symposium to learn from and connect with others who provide services to persons experiencing homelessness. This year I had the privilege of attending the conference, which is sponsored by the National Health Care for the Homeless (HCH) Council. The National HCH Council’s mission is to “eliminate homelessness by ensuring comprehensive health care and secure housing for everyone.”


DDP Small Grant Program Concludes; ARDRAW Program Blossoms

The Social Security Administration’s (SSA) Disability Determination (DDP) Small Grant Program, which provided $10,000 research stipends to graduate students in the area of disability, has successfully concluded. In total 55 research projects were completed, designed to assist SSA with its disability determination process. Research was conducted on the process itself, the Compassionate Allowance program, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s  (SAMHSA’s) SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access and Recovery (SOAR) program, to name a few.


Notes from the Field: Experiences of a SOAR Benefit Specialist

By M’Liss Hekeler D’Angelo, SSVF SOAR Benefits Specialist at Columbus House in New Haven, Connecticut

My success at Columbus House as a full-time SOAR Benefit Specialist working with Veterans who are experiencing or are at risk of homelessness stems from four primary areas: education and training, experience, advocacy (go above and beyond), and the Medical Summary Report (benefits and drawbacks).


5 Reasons Why You Should Add A SOAR Workshop to Your Annual Conference

Texas Homeless Network logoAfter attending The Texas Conference on Ending Homelessness this October, I knew when I got home that I would sit down to write a blog about my experience. What didn’t occur to me was what my focus would be. This is Texas we’re talking about, so the conference was big in size and substance!



The views, opinions, and content expressed in SOAR Voices do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, or policies of the Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS), the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors.

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