Washington

Washington

Description of Project 
The “SOAR Across Washington” initiative is sponsored by the Division of Behavioral Health and Recovery (DBHR) in the Washington Department of Social and Health Services. This is a multi-agency initiative that started over 12 years ago when the Projects for Assistance in the Transition from Homelessness (PATH) State Contacts from Washington and Oregon co-hosted a training session for PATH staff. For many years, DBHR has contracted with the Washington Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) to implement SOAR using the Stepping Stones to Recovery curriculum, developed with funding from SAMHSA. DVA organizes training for staff working in local communities to assist eligible adults, who are experiencing homelessness and have a mental illness and/or a co-occurring substance use disorder, to apply for SSI/SSDI. DBHR and DVA are working with the SOAR Technical Assistance Center to develop a process for maintaining high quality and consistent training while incorporating the on-line SOAR training in the state’s implementation plan.
 
The “SOAR Across Washington” initiative includes collaboration with Region 10 of the Social Security Administration as well as staff in the local SSA offices, the DSHS Disability Determination Service staff, DSHS Community Service Office staff, service providers for adults experiencing homelessness, local government staff, and behavioral health and medical providers. Stepping Stones to Recovery training has been offered through all of the Regional Support Networks/Behavioral Health Organizations and includes the counties where PATH programs are located. All of the Washington PATH programs have SOAR-trained staff.  
 
The goals of “SOAR Across Washington” include:
  • Serve as a leader in developing high quality SOAR applications;
  • Educate stakeholders across the state and secure support for SOAR implementation;
  • Work closely with local and regional planning teams to implement SOAR and to ensure the quality and consistency across the state that will allow approval on first application;
  • Build on the foundation of strong supportive relationships with SSA and DDS, and encourage participation in local steering committees and training sessions;
  • Increase the number of SOAR trained and certified staff committed to maintaining fidelity to the SOAR model and providing the intensive work to develop a complete application;
  • Increase the number of successful SSI/SSDI claims approved on initial application, and decrease waiting times for claims to be adjudicated;
  • Collect data on SOAR applications through the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) or SOAR Across Washington provided forms, and share data reports with groups across the state;
  • Assist local communities with developing strategies for funding ongoing sustainability and growth.  
Expectations of Participation in SOAR 
The SOAR Across Washington initiative is a multi-agency effort at both the state and local level. At the annual meeting this spring, state and local steering committee members, including DDs and SSA staff, will review the expectations other states have posted on the TA website, and decide on the process to be used in Washington.
 
In several communities across the state, Local Leads are working with steering committees to implement SOAR. For more information about the Local Leads and the efforts in local communities, please see the Contacts page and the Documents page.