Community Collaborations


PATH and SOAR are two key programs administered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) that work together to end homelessness. Both programs serve adults who have serious mental illnesses and/or co-occurring substance use disorders who are experiencing or at risk for homelessness and assist them in gaining income and housing stability. 

Accessing Social Security Administration (SSA) disability benefits is a critical step toward income stability for Veterans whose work activity is limited by disabling conditions or who have children with disabilities. SOAR directly contributes to SSVF’s goal of promoting housing stability among very low-income Veteran families by increasing access to critical income supports.

A key component of the SOAR model is developing strong collaborations with the Social Security Administration (SSA) and Disability Determination Services (DDS). The SOAR TA Center has created a guide to help!

Connecting Veterans with Social Security Administration (SSA) disability benefits is a critical step to increasing income stability for Veterans and their families, particularly for those Veterans whose work activity is limited by disabling conditions. The SOAR model helps individuals obtain SSA disability benefits while they are pursuing their vocational goals through the HVRP Program.

Many employment services are federal programs that are available in most cities and some rural areas.  Other services are only available locally. The following is a general set of guidelines to learn about available employment services in your area. Employment services are often designated for specific eligibility groups.  Follow up with local contacts to confirm what services they provide and who is eligible.

Incorporating SOAR screening and referral into your Coordinated Entry System helps prioritize access to benefits assistance for those who are most vulnerable. Helping those most in need to quickly obtain income increases your ability to place them in appropriate housing.

The Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program (YHDP) is an exciting opportunity from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for communities to design and implement a plan to prevent and end youth homelessness. In 2018, 11 communities, including five rural communities, will be selected to receive between $1 million and $15 million towards implementing new and innovative projects.


On this webinar, held on July 20, 2017, the SOAR TA Center walked through two fantastic tools, loaded with strategies that can be easily replicated for collaborating with SSA and DDS.

In 2011, the SOAR TA Center conducted a webinar series on “Strengthening SOAR Applications.”  We are pleased to bring back an updated version of this popular series in January 2017. 

Issue Briefs

This issue brief, developed by the SAMHSA SOAR TA Center, describes how SOAR efforts are enhanced when peers use their lived experience to provide ongoing support to individuals seeking benefits, resulting in improved outcomes.

This issue brief, developed by the SAMHSA SOAR TA Center, explores how SOAR collaborates with SSA and DDS, what roles each plays in a successful partnership, and the benefits to SSA and DDS of collaborating with state and local SOAR programs.

The PATH and SOAR programs directly complement each other’s work. Both programs assist adults who have serious mental illnesses and/or co-occurring substance use disorders to recover from homelessness. This issue brief explores ways that PATH and SOAR can—and do—work together.

This issue brief, developed by the SAMHSA SOAR TA Center, provides strategies for forming partnerships, examples, and a sample agreement to help hospitals and community programs create collaborations that are mutually beneficial.

SOAR Voices Blogs

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.”

Since 2012, the SOAR TA Center has offered a competitive technical assistance award open to Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Continua of Care (CoCs) nationwide. This award is a chance for the TA Center to provide targeted technical assistance to new areas of the country that are in need of or are interested in expanding SOAR. The award includes a 1-day SOAR strategic planning forum facilitated by staff of the SOAR TA Center, a spot at a 3-day SOAR Leadership Academy, and access to the SOAR Online Course and Online Application Tracking (OAT) program.

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. 

The SOAR TA Center has just concluded the third year of the SOAR Expert Panel!  The Expert Panel is composed of representatives from the Social Security Administration (SSA), Disability Determination Services (DDS), SAMHSA , SOAR Local and State Team Leads, and subject matter experts in criminal justice, appeals, Veterans, children, and transition age youth!  One of the highlights of each year’s SOAR Expert Panel is the creation of work groups that address specific topics and work to create products that will help to enhance and educate the field.  This year the Developing Relationships wor

With the deadline for the next round of Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) approaching on February 3rd, we want to highlight how important the integration of SOAR into SSVF programs has been in ending homelessness for Veterans with disabling conditions.

By Megan Smith, Rhode Island SOAR Program 

Over the past few months, Rhode Island's SOAR program has expanded its reach by training and providing ongoing support to local university students acting as SOAR case managers. While this initiative is still in its pilot phase, it has demonstrated itself to be of benefit to all involved. Utilizing students allows the program to serve a greater number of clients, offers a timely and positive process for applicants, and provides a unique learning opportunity for students.