SOAR Voices


Community Makes the Difference

There are few things that connect a person more to their community than a home.  This is especially true when a person who has experienced homelessness finally gets to turn the key to their new apartment.  For September’s Recovery Month, Policy Research Associates, Inc.


Professional Development Reflection: Housing First Partners Conference

One of the benefits I have been most excited about since joining PRA, the operator of the SAMHSA SOAR TA Center, in September 2017 is the professional development benefit. Each employee has the opportunity to attend a professional conference of interest to the individual employee once a year for the purpose of enhancing their professional development.


COHHIO Housing Ohio Conference

By Amy Lamerson, M.S.W., SOAR Ohio Program Manager and SOAR State Lead, Ohio

As the SOAR Ohio State Lead with the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio (COHHIO), I am excited to share some awesome news. COHHIO has put on a yearly housing conference for many years. For the past 2 years, SOAR Ohio has had the opportunity to offer a few breakout sessions for community providers to learn more about SOAR Ohio and bring attention to SOAR and special populations.


Ohio Homeless Conference Addresses Youth Homelessness

“Home Equals Life.” – Evicted by Matthew Desmond

On April 9 and 10, 2018 I attended the Housing Ohio 2018 COHHIO Conference, and it was fantastic! The general sessions were jammed packed with partners that wanted to do their part in eradicating the issue of homelessness for all people. The energy was optimistic and the information shared was enlightening, to say the least. I met some really great people at this conference and the experience is one that I will not forget.


Incorporating SOAR into a SSI/SSDI Case Involving Physical Conditions

The great thing about the SOAR model is that it can be used on much more than just mental health conditions! For my first several applications, I primarily focused on pouring most of my energy and my Medical Summary Reports' (MSRs') focus into clearly discussing the applicant’s functional limitations in regards to his or her psychiatric conditions. Admittedly, I dedicated a very small portion of my MSRs to addressing physical conditions.


SOAR and Reentry

Returning to the community from jail or prison is a transition often met with fear. Upon reentering society, newly released citizens may struggle with substance use disorders, lack of adequate education, insufficient job skills, and inadequate housing options. People with serious mental illness return to communities with symptoms that may be exasperated by the stress of being incarcerated, fears associated with returning to old neighborhoods, and angst surrounding the expectation to overcome barriers by sheer will and determination to succeed.


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.



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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