Children and Youth


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.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) is piloting a new policy that allows foster youth of any age to apply for SSI up to 6 months (180 days) before they leave care. 

Here are some tools created by the SOAR TA Center that are specific to the child SSI application process. 

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.

Transition age youth (TAY), (youth and young adults between the ages of 16 and 25), who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness and have serious mental illness and other medical impairments may find it difficult to maintain employment and may also struggle to access disability benefits. The Social Security Administration's (SSA) narrow definition of disability combined with a lack of support throughout the application process has created an environment rich with myths.


On this webinar, to be held on Thursday, February 21, 3:00 pm ET, the SAMHSA SOAR TA Center will share new tools and resources for completing Child SSI applications, including the new SOAR Online Course: Child Curriculum. As well, SOAR Leaders will discuss their strategies and plans for implementing SOAR for Children initiatives in their communities.

In this webinar, held on March 25, 2015, the SAMHSA SOAR TA Center presented a new issue brief and participants heard from SOAR providers who are successfully serving youth who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness.

Issue Briefs

This issue brief, developed in collaboration with the SOAR TA Center, discusses the disability determination process and medical eligibility criteria for child SSI applications.

This issue brief, developed by the SOAR TA Center, discusses how SOAR’s intensive engagement process and holistic approach to applying for SSI and SSDI can benefit the vulnerable and difficult-to-serve population of transition age youth.

SOAR Voices Blogs

“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.

When one thinks about the demographic of people most often affected by homelessness, an image of a single adult often comes to mind, maybe a veteran, or a family that has been displaced into homelessness.  However, homelessness among teens and young adults has risen in recent years.  This demographic is known as the ”transition age youth,” often defined as someone between the ages of 16-25.   This group of individuals often presents with unique service challenges being that they are too old for child services but often not ready or eligible for adult services.  This population is also often

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: