Homeless Veterans:

Job Retention Goal Under Development for DOL's Homeless Veterans' Reintegration Program

GAO-05-654T: Published: May 4, 2005. Publicly Released: May 4, 2005.

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The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has estimated that as many as 250,000 veterans may be homeless on any given day. Many other veterans are also considered at risk for homelessness because of poverty, lack of support from family and friends, and precarious living conditions in overcrowded or substandard housing. One federal program designed to help these veterans is the Department of Labor's (DOL) Homeless Veterans' Reintegration Program (HVRP)--a grant program that provides funding for employment and training services for homeless veterans. GAO was asked to assist Congress with its consideration of HVRP reauthorization by providing information on DOL's (1) expenditures on HVRP grants and (2) measures and goals for assessing the effectiveness of HVRP. GAO reviewed VA and DOL documentation that included the amounts DOL expended for HVRP as well as information on HVRP grantees and performance goals. GAO also interviewed DOL program officials.

DOL's expenditures for HVRP grants have increased from $9.5 million in fiscal year 2000 to over $18 million in fiscal year 2004. For fiscal years 2005 and 2006, DOL estimates that it will expend over $20 million on HVRP grants each year. Currently, DOL oversees 79 HVRP grants that help provide employment and job training services for homeless veterans. In program year 2003 (July 1, 2003 through June 30, 2004), 63 percent of homeless veterans enrolled in HVRP funded programs entered employment, which exceeds the 61 percent entered-employment goal in DOL's fiscal year 2006 budget. DOL recently reported that for program year 2003, 35 percent of employed veterans served through the program retained their jobs for 180 days. However, DOL is in the process of developing a performance goal for this job retention measure. This goal along with the entered-employment goal will help DOL, Congress, and others evaluate the impact that HVRP has on homeless veterans.

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