Training Is Not Enough to Connect Homeless Persons to Federal Disability Benefits

Nov 14, 2011, 17:07 ET from Institute for Children, Poverty, and Homelessness

New brief suggests implementation is key

NEW YORK, Nov. 14, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A community's participation in SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access and Recovery (SOAR) training alone is not an indicator of higher disability benefit enrollment rates among homeless persons, according to a brief released today by the Institute for Children, Poverty, and Homelessness (ICPH). ICPH's latest brief, Does CoC Participation in SOAR Training Improve SSI/SSDI Enrollment?, concludes that implementation is critical in effectively connecting homeless families and individuals to Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefit programs.

The brief analyzes data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)'s annual applications for funding from 2008 and 2009 to examine SSI and SSDI enrollment rates among homeless adults exiting shelter. Continua of care (CoC) that did not participate in SOAR training exhibited higher SSI and SSDI enrollment rates (19.2% in 2008 and 21.5% in 2009) than localities that received SOAR training in 2008 or earlier (18.7% and 20.2%) and CoCs newly trained in 2009 (18.6% and 18.3%).

ICPH's analysis suggests that implementation is crucial following the initial SOAR training period. These results echo a 2009 study, which found that states that had the greatest success in connecting eligible homeless persons to disability benefits had consistent leadership from qualified trainers, strong organization-level support, interagency communication, and outcome data collection.

"While the SOAR initiative has proven to be extremely effective, participation in SOAR training alone is not an accurate measure of success," said ICPH Principal Policy Analyst, Matthew Adams. "Currently, HUD requires communities to only report if they received training on their annual applications for funding. Collecting data on proven implementation strategies and program outcomes may be a more effective way to gauge progress."

The Institute for Children, Poverty, and Homelessness is an independent nonprofit research organization in New York City. ICPH studies the impact of poverty on family and child well-being, and generates research that will enhance public policies and programs affecting poor or homeless children and their families.

For the full brief, go to For more information, contact Linda Bazerjian ( or 212-358-8086, ext. 1204) or Diana Scholl ( or 212-358-8086, ext. 1223). 



SOURCE Institute for Children, Poverty, and Homelessness