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THN VISTA SOAR Coordinator Position
29 May 2015

THN VISTA SOAR Coordinator, Galveston, TX

Texas Homeless Network is looking for a VISTA member to serve in Galveston.

Help people SOAR out of homelessness!

SOAR is a national project designed to increase access to SSI/SSDI for eligible adults who are homeless/at risk of homelessness and have a mental illness and/or co-occurring substance use disorder. On average, there is a 15% success rate for persons experiencing homelessness with a co-occurring substance use disorder on initial application. Using SOAR, the rate in Texas has risen to 65% and we know we can increase that number by helping communities implement the SOAR process.

Not only do these clients receive benefits, they will also be able to get other necessary supports such as permanent supporting housing (benefits help pay for rent), in addition to accessing mainstream benefits that will increase self-sufficiency, confidence and the ability to restore their lives. Hospitals also benefit by receiving reimbursements from Medicaid.

A 2011 policy brief released by the Institute for Children, Poverty & Homelessness (ICPH) outlines the cost benefits to states. “Increasing SSI and SSDI enrollment reduces expenditures from state-funded general assistance programs and state-only medical or mental health services and lowers the rate of uncompensated, emergency care. Launched in 2005, the federally funded SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access and Recovery (SOAR) initiative helps states and localities increase eligible homeless persons’ enrollment in SSA disability benefits. Although chronically homeless singles are the primary recipient group for benefits among all homeless persons, SSI and SSDI are also crucial supports for homeless and at-risk families, providing better access to income and health insurance.”

Keep Texas Housed and the VISTA SOAR Project

Keep Texas Housed (KTH) is a new campaign started by Texas Homeless Network (THN) in 2014. The campaign focuses on the Balance of State CoC areas to help increase capacity through projects like the VISTA program. The goal of KTH is to assist the BoS CoC communities with linking resources that will lead to an increase in available housing.

The goal of the VISTA SOAR project is to increase access to SSI/SSDI for eligible adults by coordinating and leading statewide technical assistance and strategic planning efforts, increasing the presence of SOAR statewide by assisting local communities in implementing SOAR activities, and formulating, developing, and implementing strategies to sustain capacity and infrastructure.

As the Texas State Lead, THN has been working with communities and leading strategic planning meetings to discuss SOAR implementation, followed by a community training on processing the SOAR applications. This VISTA position will be able to contribute to existing research and programs already established using SOAR and work to implement the state and local action plans, coordinate meetings with community providers, and organize statewide partners.

Member Duties: The SOAR Coordinator will provide technical assistance to the local community with SOAR planning projects and implementation, and working to develop and build sustainable capacity and infrastructure for ongoing SOAR efforts. First, the member will learn about SOAR by attending a training led by THN. The VISTA member will continue to learn about SOAR through research and establishing, coordinating and meeting with the SOAR workgroup in the community.

The member will also conduct outreach and engage relevant partners in the area regarding SOAR implementation efforts. Second, the member will work to increase the presence of SOAR by cultivating collaborations, establishing MOUs, and conducting in-service training sessions and any other relevant training opportunities with SOAR trainers and partners to provide technical assistance to outreach workers and front line staff. Lastly, the member will identify potential funding sources and research SOAR models in other states to determine best practices for Texas.

Program Benefits: Choice of Education Award or End of Service Stipend, Health Coverage, Training, Living Allowance, Relocation Allowance.

Apply: Please submit a resume, letter of interest, and indicate you are applying to serve in Galveston to: Jennifer@thn.org. The deadline to apply is June 20, 2015.


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