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SAMHSA SOAR TA Center

The SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access, and Recovery (SOAR) Technical Assistance (TA) Center is funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). It is a national program designed to increase access to the disability income benefit programs administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) for eligible adults and children who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness and have a serious mental illness, medical impairment, and/or a co-occurring substance use disorder. 

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General inquiries | SOAR Online Course | SOAR Online Application Tracking (OAT) Program

Find SOAR in your State

Visit our State Directory or contact your TA Center Liaison using the information below.

SOAR Practitioners and Leaders

Share your SOAR Success!

We want to hear about your successes using the SOAR model! Let us know about your favorite, most memorable, or most impactful SOAR-assisted application. We’ll share it with the SOAR Community, nationwide!  Submit your SOAR success story.

SOAR Online Application Tracking (OAT) Program

Track your SOAR-assisted SSI/SSDI application outcomes: Register/Login to OAT

SAMHSA SOAR Technical Assistance Center

345 Delaware Avenue
Delmar, NY 12054

Phone: 518-439-7415 x2
Fax: 518-439-7612

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SAMHSA SOAR TA Center Team

Kristin Lupfer

Director
TA Center Liaison to: DC, MD, and WA

Phone Number: (x5262)
Email Address:

Kristin Lupfer, MSW is Project Director of the SAMHSA SOAR TA Center. Her previous experience includes work as a Supported Employment Specialist and caseworker assisting people with disabilities who were experiencing homelessness in New York City and Atlanta. In addition, she has conducted research and data analysis with the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse. Prior to joining the SAMHSA SOAR TA Center, Kristin was the Director of the Georgia SOAR Program. Kristin oversees all aspects of the SOAR TA Center, including delivery of on-site TA, development of the SOAR Online Course, supervision of staff, development of new materials and technical assistance to SOAR states on strategic planning, collaborations, funding, sustainability and implementation. Kristin earned her MSW at the Columbia University School of Social Work.

Abigail Kirkman

Assistant Director
TA Center Liaison to: CO, CT, DE, IL, MT, NY, PA, and VA

Phone Number: (x5226)
Email Address:

Abigail Kirkman, M.A. is the Assistant Director of the SAMHSA SOAR TA Center. She is the SOAR subject matter expert on American Indian and Alaska Native populations and has expertise with implementing SOAR in rural communities. Prior to joining PRA she worked as a case manager and employment specialist where she managed programs to retrain and employ youth and individuals with disabilities. She also coordinated a housing and employment program for persons living with HIV/AIDS. Abigail has a B.A. from the College of William & Mary, an M.A. from the University at Albany, State University of New York, and has received comprehensive SSI/SSDI benefits training through Cornell University.

Dazara Ware

Assistant Director
TA Center Liaison to: FL, GA, HI, MS, OH, and TN

Phone Number: (x5260)
Email Address:

Dazara Ware, MPC is the Assistant Director of the SAMHSA SOAR TA Center. Her areas of expertise include assisting with the implementation of SOAR in criminal justice settings and reentry plans for state Departments of Corrections facilities. Prior to joining PRA, she served as the State of Georgia’s SOAR Program Coordinator and State Team Lead at the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD). While there, she led a pilot a program to implement SOAR in Georgia’s state hospitals, jails, and prisons to promote successful transitions to community living. Dazara earned her MPC at Argosy University.

Dan Coladonato

Project Associate
TA Center Liaison to: AK, AZ, CA, IA, MO, MN, NM, OR, SD, and UT

Phone Number: (x5241)
Email Address:

Dan Coladonato is a Project Associate for the SAMHSA SOAR TA Center. Before joining the SAMHSA SOAR TA Center, Dan served as a Psychosocial Rehabilitation Specialist with an Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) team that served adults with severe and persistent mental illness and a history of homelessness. During his time providing psychosocial rehabilitation services with the ACT team, Dan became SOAR-trained and discovered how effective the SOAR model was for SSI/SSDI advocacy, and eventually became the ACT team’s Benefits Specialist. In addition to assisting individuals to acquire Social Security and other locally administered benefits, Dan helped individuals with the post-entitlement transition, representative payee services, and the transition back to work. After attending a SOAR Leadership Academy in San Diego in 2016, Dan became a SOAR Local Lead in San Diego and provided SOAR training and support to local SOAR advocates. This eventually led him to his current position at the TA Center.  

Alisha Fletcher

Project Assistant

Phone Number: (x5149)
Email Address:

Alisha Fletcher is the Project Assistant for the Housing and Income Supports Program Area. Alisha supports both the SAMHSA SOAR TA Center and the Homeless and Housing Resource Center. Alisha spent the last year on outreach efforts for the lead agency in Tulsa, Oklahoma’s Homelessness Continuum of Care. She completed her Masters degree in American Studies at Northeastern State University. Prior to her current work, she supported electoral campaigns as a Field Organizer. The common denominator in her work is a passion for policymaking and systems change. For fun (and stress relief), Alisha loves to bake! Otherwise, she can typically be found on a kayak or trying her hand at some new creative project. 

Pam Heine

Senior Project Associate
TA Center Liaison to: KY, ND, NJ, NV, WI, and WV

Phone Number: (x5228)
Email Address:

Pam Heine, LMSW is a Senior Project Associate for the SAMHSA SOAR TA Center. For 12 years, she worked at Legal Services of New Jersey’s SSI Project, representing nearly 1,000 adult and child recipients of public assistance with the Social Security Administration. From 2008-11, she represented individuals at the Administrative Law Judge and Appeals Council stages, achieving a 97 percent approval rate. Her years of experience in the areas of developmental disabilities, mental health, public assistance, and supported employment informed her work as a non-attorney representative. She is our content expert on using the SOAR model with SSI/SSDI appeals. Pam has an MSW from Monmouth University as well as certification in psychological first aid (PFA), providing statewide training to first responders. Pam is responsible for production of TA Center Webinars.

Sametra Polkah-Toe

Project Associate
TA Center Liaison to: AL, IN, ME, MA, NC, RI, TX, and VT

Phone Number: (x5107)
Email Address:

Sametra Polkah-Toe, LMHC is a Project Associate for the SAMHSA SOAR TA Center. Prior to joining PRA, she was a lead supervisor for establishing Home and Community Based services for individuals experiencing mental health and/or substance use disorders and as a Rehabilitation Practitioner where she was responsible for providing recovery-oriented services to individuals of SPMI population. It was in this role where she first became introduced to SOAR and proudly served as a SOAR trained case manager and SOAR local lead helping to raise the approval rates and number of SOAR trained case managers in the five counties she served. In addition to her professional human service experience, she is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in NYS and identifies as “an individual with lived experience.” Sametra earned a dual B.A in Applied Sociology from Buffalo State College and her M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Medaille College.

Suzy Sodergren

Senior Project Associate
OAT Administrator

Phone Number: (x5254)
Email Address:

Suzy Sodergren, MSW is a Senior Project Associate for the SAMHSA SOAR TA Center. She has worked for the TA Center since its inception over twelve years ago. She is the TA Center’s Online Application Tracking (OAT) Coordinator and is responsible for OAT training, quality control and technical support for all users. Suzy maintains the TA Center website and helps identify ways to improve the functionality of the SOAR Online Course and SOAR Database. She provides technical support to users of the SOAR Online Course and serves as a SOAR Online Course Practice Case Reviewer. She assists with webinar scheduling and coordination, is responsible for reviewing and editing the TA Center’s written products, and creates other substantive content to enhance existing and new materials. Suzy earned her MSW at the University of Kansas.

Amanda Starkey

Project Associate
TA Center Liaison to: AR, ID, KS, LA, MI, NE, NH, OK, SC, and WY

Phone Number: (x5251)
Email Address:

Amanda Starkey, M.A. is a Project Associate II for the SAMHSA SOAR TA Center. Prior to joining PRA she worked as a SOAR Specialist and Trainer in Colorado and Michigan since 2010, completing over 250 SOAR applications. Amanda specializes in assisting practitioners who are starting with their first SSI/SSDI applications. She is developing tools and resources for the SAMHSA SOAR TA Center that will be used in cohorts for new providers. Amanda has a B.S. in Addictions Studies from the University of Detroit Mercy, and an M.A. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from the University of Detroit Mercy.