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SOAR Success in Jacksonville

The following SOAR success story was submitted by Traci Fugelstad, SOAR Local Lead, from Sulzbacher Behavioral Health Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida.

Jamal had a happy and regular childhood until he started experiencing symptoms of schizophrenia when he was sixteen years of age. He dropped out of school in the 10th grade and attempted to obtain his GED but was unable to complete the process. He experienced multiple Baker Acts, arrests, and chronic homelessness from his late teenage years until he was around 30 years of age.

In 2021, He was referred to the SOAR program and obtained SSI benefits, linked to psychiatric services and a long-acting psychiatric injectable, and permanent supportive housing services. The SOAR case manager and his housing case manager have collaborated to ensure that Jamal has continued to receive psychiatric services. Today, he remains housed in a nice apartment, has obtained a driver's license, purchased a vehicle with the SSI back pay, and has a part-time job at a local restaurant. He even volunteers to help other clients at the facility that linked him to the SOAR program. He proudly shares that he has not had any further arrests, mental health relapses, or episodes of homelessness since receiving SOAR services.

It was very rewarding to see the SOAR model help Jamal access funding, gain access to mental health services, and obtain permanent supportive housing services. The SOAR model helped him obtain long-term stability, end his chronic homelessness, and empowered him to obtain a driver's license, purchase a vehicle, and obtain part-time employment. My words of wisdom for SOAR practitioners are that the SOAR model works and produces amazing results for the individuals that we serve. The key is to collaborate with mental health and housing providers in order to promote long-term positive outcomes.

Have a story of your own? Submit your SOAR success!

Sharing Our Successes stories are edited for brevity and clarity. All beneficiary names have been changed to protect anonymity.