Economic Development:

Efforts to Assist the Homeless in Seattle

RCED-94-237R: Published: Jul 11, 1994. Publicly Released: Jul 11, 1994.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the role of McKinney Act programs in assisting the homeless in Seattle. GAO noted that: (1) homeless social service programs and emergency services have been available in Seattle for many years and are funded by local and state governments and private sources; (2) McKinney program funding has played an important role in Seattle's homeless assistance efforts since 1987; (3) McKinney programs have supplemented existing food and emergency shelter services, expanded employment and education programs, and funded transitional housing, health care services shelters, and mentally ill outreach programs; (4) although McKinney funds are provided to cities for food, shelter, health care, education, and employment programs targeted to the homeless, the current resources available are not meeting service demands; (5) service providers believe that without McKinney program funds, health care outreach services, transitional housing, and education programs would be greatly reduced or discontinued; (6) local service providers believe that Seattle needs to increase the amount of affordable housing for low-income persons, funds for substance abuse programs, services targeted to youths, and its employment training, education, and homeless prevention efforts; and (7) Seattle should seek new and creative ways to provide low-income housing, since affordable housing shortages contribute to homelessness in Seattle.

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