Disability, General, People Facing Barriers

SOAR Programs and Social Security

January 18, 2024 • By

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Last Updated: January 18, 2024

people holding handsNational Network for Youth (NN4Y) is dedicated to transforming systems so that no young person in America experiences homelessness.

In the United States, roughly 4.2 million young people— one in 10 young adults ages 18 to 25 and one in 30 youth ages 13 to 17— experience homelessness each year. Of those, about 700,000 are unaccompanied minors experiencing homelessness without any family, parent, or guardian. Nationwide surveys indicate that homelessness affects youth living in rural, suburban, and urban communities at similar rates.

Homelessness is often hidden among young adults, and it is difficult to accurately assess the extent of the problem. There are different definitions of homelessness, and many obstacles to contacting unhoused people, particularly unhoused youth. Further, many unhoused young people do not go to shelters, and instead transition between temporary sleeping arrangements with friends or acquaintances.

People experiencing homelessness face challenges that include:

  • Lack of necessities like food, clothing, transportation, and medical care.
  • Discontinuation of education due to mobility.
  • Trauma caused by poverty and instability.

Many young adults experiencing homelessness also have disabilities that create additional challenges for their transition to adulthood. Children experiencing homelessness are up to three times more likely to show emotional and behavioral problems than other children. They’re also four times more likely to experience delayed development and twice as likely to have learning disabilities.

Youth homelessness is a complex issue that intersects with multiple public and private entities. The SOAR (SSI/SSDI, Outreach, Access, and Recovery) program funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) can help. SOAR increases access to Social Security disability benefits for eligible adults and children who:

  • Are experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness.
  • Have a severe mental illness, medical impairment, or a co-occurring substance use disorder.

The SOAR program provides a cross-agency approach to solving youth and young adult homelessness. SOAR provides unhoused young adults with faster access to the supportive services needed to maintain housing and stability. To learn more about SOAR, visit our website. For more information about Social Security disability benefits, check out their publication, Disability Benefits. You can also visit Social Security’s webpage, Information for People Helping Others, for ways in which you can assist people experiencing homelessness in your community.

Please share this with friends and family who may need it – and post it on social media.

Our posting of this blog does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation of any non-Social Security organization, author, or webpages.

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  1. George H.

    Slthough I believe that no America citizen should be homeless. I do think there is a better way of funding this then taking money from Social Security. SSI is a program to help retired Americas to be able to live out their golden years on some sort of comfort. Over the years I have see the Federal government taking money out of SSI to fund their own policies instead of payment to the pwho paid into people who paid onto this with their own money. This is not a bank account for big government nor should it be taxed by local governments!

  2. Anthony f.

    Tax payers dollars don’t pay for everything and it’s not

  3. Kathy S.

    There could be an alternative to using social security funds, another government agency assigned to just this issue comes to mind, tax dollars could cover this. Kids have many needs and a team of people dedicated to this seems prudent.

  4. Janina

    As far as I remember in the USA exists still a political system called kapitalism not a communism. A child is not a public responsibility but private responsibility of his or her parents.

    • Teabag

      If the children are displaced and the parents have nothing to do with them, then they should be able to get the help that they need. You sound selfish

    • C.Wade

      There are a lot of assumptions about who has parents around and what they know how to do.

    • Lisa

      And the 700 000 it refers to are UN-documented. And the unaccompanied they’re referring to are the children sent over from the b*rder.rider.

      • Linda

        Clearly you are one of the lucky ones who has always had a roof over your head. Your gratitude for having had all of your need met throughout your life should allow you the opportunity to do some homework on the situation and maybe help out the community at the same time. why not volunteer at a homeless shelter and get some perspective on the situation. You may learn that some or all of the homeless in your local shelter are locals from your own community. You may even end up helping folks you know.


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