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WVCEH is the acting SOAR (SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access, and Recovery) State Lead in West Virginia and works collaboratively with the SAMSHA SOAR Technical Assistance Centerto expand the SOAR curriculum and practice in the state. "SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access and Recovery (SOAR) is a federal program to help states and communities increase access to Social Security disability benefits for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness and who have mental illnesses or other co-occurring disorders. Funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the SOAR Technical Assistance Center offers: (1) strategic planning to establish collaborations among key state and/or local stakeholders and to develop an action plan for increasing access to Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), (2) training of case managers using SAMHSA’s Stepping Stones to Recovery curriculum, and (3) ongoing technical assistance to support action plan implementation, case managers as they work on applications, tracking of outcomes, expansion to new geographic areas and subgroups, and long-term sustainability (SAMSHA, 2012)."

SOAR is a recovery-based model being used in 50 states and is, currently, being piloted in two West Virginia communities. For persons who are homeless or at risk of homelessness who do not receive assistance in the application process, the approval rate is estimated at 10-15%. For all persons who apply for SSA disability benefits, the allowance rate is 31%. The approval rate on SOAR assisted applications was 71% in an average of 101 days! SSI/SSDI benefits are not only crucial in increasing an individual’s income and access to healthcare but also provide better opportunities for stable housing and overall stability.

To find out when trainings will be held in your area or to learn more about the statewide SOAR initiative, contact Rachael Coen, State Team Lead, at rachaelcoen@wvceh.org.

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WV Coalition to End Homelessness | PO Box 4697, Bridgeport, WV 26330 | 304-842-9522 | info@wvceh.org | website by brickswithoutstraw