Jen Elder, M.Sc.

Jen Elder is the National Policy and Partnerships Coordinator and Assistant Director for the SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access, and Recovery Technical Assistance Center at Policy Research Associates and has over 10 years of experience in policy development and implementation in the homelessness sector. Ms. Elder works with federal partners to incorporate income stability in national policies to end homelessness, facilitates strategic planning forums with government and community stakeholders for SOAR implementation, and conducts trainings in Social Security benefits acquisition. Her areas of expertise include disability benefits for Veterans, utilizing disability benefits in conjunction with rapid re-housing programs, Social Security work incentives, and community capacity building.  Ms. Elder assists with the development and administration of the SOAR Online Course, and creates written materials for the SOAR website, national webinars, and trainings for the SOAR community and federal partners. She provides technical assistance to the VA’s Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program, HUD-VASH and H-PACT programs, the Homeless Veterans’ Reintegration Program (HVRP), as well as other programs serving Veterans, through national webinars and trainings in collaboration with the VA and the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans. Additionally, Ms. Elder facilitates strategic planning sessions for states incorporating behavioral health interventions into their policies serving Veterans, service members, and military families.

Prior to joining PRA, Ms. Elder was a SOAR Coordinator on Park Center’s Homeless Outreach team in Nashville, Tennessee, where she served individuals experiencing homelessness and mental illness, and had an approval rate on over 40 initial SSI/SSDI applications of 100 percent within an average of 57 days. Her previous experience includes coordinating street outreach and shelter services for chronically homeless individuals in London, United Kingdom, as well as developing organizational policy and training guidelines for emergency shelter staff. Ms. Elder received her M.Sc. in Development Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, UK in 2007 and has a B.S. in Psychology and a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.