Health Care for the Homeless

The Health Resources and Services Administration, an Agency of the Department of Health and Human Services, provides support to the Health Care for the Homeless (HCH) program. Through grants to a network of local public and non-profit private entities, the Health Care for the Homeless program provides primary health care, mental health services, and substance abuse treatment to persons who are homeless. As of May 2003, there are 155 HCH programs, with at least one in each of the 50 States plus programs in the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Field Offices can locate HCH programs in their service area by consulting the National HCH Grantee Directory.

SSA encourages field offices to establish partnerships with HCH programs in an effort to obtain more accurate and timely disability information on their homeless clients, many of whom may be eligible for Social Security benefits.

The National Health Care for the Homeless Council is a national education and advocacy organization with a comprehensive website on issues relating to homelessness and health care.  The Council has developed many useful documents, including several that relate to identifying and assisting homeless persons who may be eligible for SSI and SSDI benefits.

Visit the National Health Care for the Homeless Council website at: http://www.nhchc.org/.

Federal Interagency Reentry Council

The Social Security Administration participates in the Federal Interagency Reentry Council. The purpose of this group is to bring together numerous federal agencies to make communities safer, assist those returning from prison and jail in becoming productive, tax-paying citizens, and save taxpayer dollars by lowering the direct and collateral costs of incarceration.

Social Security's prerelease procedure allows you to apply for SSI and Food Stamps several months before your anticipated release from an institution so that benefits can begin quickly after your release.

Visit Social Security's prerelease internet site.

Visit the National Reentry Resource Center.

Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness (PATH)

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) administers the Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness (PATH) program. The goal of the PATH program is to provide community-based services to individuals with serious mental illnesses (including those with co-occurring mental and substance use disorders) who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. The Social Security Administration supports the PATH program and is advising SAMHSA on the development of a technical assistance manual, and training materials for case managers in PATH-funded agencies assisting homeless SSI/SSDI applicants. For more information, please visit SAMHSA's PATH program website at:

http://pathprogram.samhsa.gov

SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access and Recovery (SOAR)

The SOAR Technical Assistance Initiative is provided to States participating in the Federal Interagency Policy Academies on Homelessness sponsored by the Departments of Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Labor, and Veterans Affairs. The goal is to help States and communities increase access to SSI and SSDI for homeless people with mental illnesses and/or co-occurring substance use disorders. Each State participates in an in-State Forum to develop a plan for systems change related to access to SSI and SSDI for homeless persons.

Using the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's Stepping Stones to Recovery training curriculum, trainers from each State conduct State-wide trainings targeting direct service staff who work with homeless people. Outcomes of this training-based intervention are being tracked by each State. The Social Security Administration supports this initiative by reviewing applications from States and encouraging SSA participation at the SOAR Forums. For more information, please visit the SOAR webpage at http://www.prainc.com/SOAR/.