Efforts to Assist the Homeless in San Antonio

RCED-94-238R: 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 San Antonio. GAO noted that: (1) although the homeless have had access to a range of low-income assistance programs since 1970, most of these programs were not targeted specifically toward the homeless; (2) before McKinney Act programs became available, emergency shelters were established by charitable organizations and health care was available through county facilities; (3) McKinney program funding has played a small but important role in San Antonio's homeless assistance efforts since 1987; (4) McKinney programs have improved existing emergency food and shelter programs, funded transitional housing, expanded health care services, helped link adult education programs with shelters, established mobile outreach services for the mentally ill and employment assistance for veterans, and improved coordination between local organizations and providers; (5) local service providers believe that their current resources are not sufficient to meet the special needs of the homeless; (6) service providers believe that San Antonio needs to increase the amount of transitional housing, employment training, literacy education, prenatal care for youths, substance abuse treatment, homeless prevention efforts, affordable housing for low-income persons, and high-paying jobs; and (7) San Antonio should seek new and creative ways to provide low-income housing, since affordable housing shortages contribute to homelessness in San Antonio.

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