Mellani Calvin: Executive Director of A.S.S.I.S.T.
Almost all of Mellani Calvin’s career has been assisting people with disabilities in one form or another. Her early career was in administration of Workers’ Compensation Vocational Rehabilitation programs.
Mellani has assisted people through the Social Security Disability benefits and Supplemental Security Income (SSD/SSI) application process since 2001. She worked as a Social Security disability paralegal for 3-1/2 of these years preparing cases for hearings with the Social Security Administration’s Administrative Law Judges.
She began working at Central City Concern in Portland, Oregon in November 2004 as a non-attorney representative with a focus on chronically homeless and the indigent and moved on in 2008 to develop and manage the highly successful Benefits and Entitlements Specialists Team (B.E.S.T.) of Portland. Since December 2005, she has been one of Oregon’s original four trainers for the national SSI-SSD Outreach, Access and Recovery (SOAR) curriculum sponsored by SAMHSA, which also helps social workers and case managers learn to navigate the Social Security Disability process.
As of April, 2010 Mellani established two new disability related companies: Disability Benefits Training & Consulting, LLC and A.S.S.I.S.T. Assertive SSI Service Team. Her work as the principal trainer and program director has now taken her to many cities throughout the northwest to begin establishing new assistance programs for the disabled homeless. She has also begun to present on the national stage at such conferences as National Coalition for Homeless Veterans in Washington, DC and the 2011 National Community Action Partnership conference held in San Francisco, CA.