Economic Development:

Efforts to Assist the Homeless in Baltimore

RCED-94-239R: 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 Baltimore. GAO noted that: (1) homeless emergency services have been available in Baltimore since the 19th century; (2) before McKinney Act programs became available, churches, missions, and private groups provided food and shelter services for the homeless; (3) since 1987, McKinney program funding has played an important role in Baltimore's efforts to assist the homeless; (4) McKinney programs have supplemented existing emergency food and shelter services, funded transitional housing and education programs for adults and children, expanded health care services, and established mobile outreach services for the mentally ill and a research demonstration project for homeless people with chronic mental illness and substance abuse problems; (5) service providers believe that without McKinney program funds, case management and health care outreach services, transitional housing, and adult education programs would be greatly reduced or discontinued; (6) local service providers believe that their current resources are not sufficient to meet the special needs of the homeless and that Baltimore needs to increase the amount of affordable housing, funds for substance abuse programs, and its homeless education and prevention efforts; and (7) Baltimore should seek new and creative ways to provide low-income housing, since affordable housing shortages contribute to homelessness in Baltimore.

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