Homelessness:

McKinney Act Programs Provide Assistance but Are Not Designed to Be the Solution

RCED-94-37: Published: May 31, 1994. Publicly Released: May 31, 1994.

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Stanley J. Czerwinski
(202) 512-6520
contact@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the impact of the Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act in selected cities, focusing on: (1) how the act has affected the cities' efforts to assist the homeless; and (2) the problems the cities have experienced with McKinney Act programs.

GAO found that: (1) McKinney Act programs are an important source of funds for improving emergency services to the homeless, developing long-term housing options, assisting mentally ill and substance-abusing homeless persons, providing limited education and employment training, and leveraging funds from other sources; (2) McKinney Act programs foster cooperation and coordination among local service providers; (3) Congress has authorized funding renewal for housing projects to sustain the delivery of effective services; (4) local providers find the programs' duplicative application and reporting requirements burdensome; (5) officials do not agree on how to consolidate McKinney Act programs; (6) federal agencies do not plan to disseminate information on McKinney Act program evaluations or incorporate successful service strategies into their mainstream assistance programs; (7) although McKinney Act programs are important to supporting future efforts, they do not fully address the problem of homelessness because of the lack of affordable housing, stagnant economies, and funding reductions; and (8) local officials would like increased funding for McKinney Act programs, to fill gaps in prevention, long-term housing, and comprehensive services.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: Even though it has been six years since this recommendation was made, there has only been limited discussion within some congressional committees about the possibility of consolidating HUD's McKinney programs. Therefore, at this time it appears unlikely that the Congress will choose to consolidate or streamline homeless assistance programs across the federal government to reduce the administrative burdens that multiple programs pose to localities. Consequently, GAO is closing this recommendation.

    Matter: To reduce the administrative burden created by multiple application and reporting requirements, Congress may wish to consider amending the McKinney Act to: (1) enable federal agencies to establish more uniform application and reporting requirements; or (2) consolidate McKinney Act programs.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The Council does not intend to take any action on this recommendation. The Council stated that in early 1995, HUD summarized all of its evaluations conducted thus far and made them available to the public. In addition, the Council is compiling a list of federal publications on homelessness from 1993-1996. This list will include agency evaluations and information on obtaining copies of the individual reports. The Council plans to send this list to national organizations. It does not intend to send it to all of the parties on its mailing list.

    Recommendation: The Executive Director of the Domestic Policy Council's new working group on homelessness should disseminate summaries of the McKinney program evaluations to all of the parties on the Interagency Council on the Homeless' mailing list.

    Agency Affected: Domestic Policy Council

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Department believes that it has taken sufficient actions to address this recommendation, for example, disseminating information to the states. However, GAO's recent evaluation (see GAO/RCED-00-184) of the barriers that homeless people face when trying to access mainstream programs, indicates that most experts believe that federal agencies have not done enough to incorporate the lessons learned from the McKinney demonstration projects. While most federal agencies agree that they will continue to apply the lessons learned, GAO is closing out this recommendation because GAO believes that the department has no concrete plans that GAO can effectively monitor.

    Recommendation: The Secretaries of Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, Veterans Affairs, Labor, and Education should, after completing the evaluations of their respective McKinney Act demonstration and research programs, incorporate successful strategies for working with homeless people into their mainstream programs.

    Agency Affected: Department of Education

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Our recent evaluation (see GAO/RCED-00-184) of the barriers that homeless people face when trying to access mainstream programs, indicates that most experts believe that federal agencies have not done enough to incorporate the lessons learned from the McKinney demonstration projects. While most federal agencies agree that they will continue to apply the lessons learned, GAO is closing out this recommendation because GAO believes that the department has no concrete plans that GAO can effectively monitor.

    Recommendation: The Secretaries of Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, Veterans Affairs, Labor, and Education should, after completing the evaluations of their respective McKinney Act demonstration and research programs, incorporate successful strategies for working with homeless people into their mainstream programs.

    Agency Affected: Department of Housing and Urban Development

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Our recent evaluation (see GAO/RCED-00-184) of the barriers that homeless people face when trying to access mainstream programs, indicates that most experts believe that federal agencies have not done enough to incorporate the lessons learned from the McKinney demonstration projects. While most federal agencies agree that they will continue to apply the lessons learned, GAO is closing out this recommendation because GAO believes that the department has no concrete plans that GAO can effectively monitor.

    Recommendation: The Secretaries of Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, Veterans Affairs, Labor, and Education should, after completing the evaluations of their respective McKinney Act demonstration and research programs, incorporate successful strategies for working with homeless people into their mainstream programs.

    Agency Affected: Department of Health and Human Services

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Independent of GAO's recommendation, Labor is incorporating job training services for the homeless into its mainstream Job Training Partnership Act (JPTA) program. To facilitate this effort, in fiscal year 1994 Labor began to require that new JPTA grantees establish formal cooperative agreements with at least one grantee in Labor's Job Training for the Homeless Demonstration program to facilitate the provision of high-quality, customized, and comprehensive services to a larger number of homeless people in more geographic areas.

    Recommendation: The Secretaries of Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, Veterans Affairs, Labor, and Education should, after completing the evaluations of their respective McKinney Act demonstration and research programs, incorporate successful strategies for working with homeless people into their mainstream programs.

    Agency Affected: Department of Labor

  6. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Cooperative Health Manpower and Education Program (CHEP) has designed, pilot-tested, and distributed an assessment protocol to all VA medical centers (VAMC) to be used to assist in determining the needs of homeless veterans, including McKinney Act programs. An analysis of the assessment of the protocol was completed and a report was provided to Congress on January 26, 1995. VAMC will be able to use facility-specific information for continuing or implementing successful strategies for the homeless on the local level.

    Recommendation: The Secretaries of Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, Veterans Affairs, Labor, and Education should, after completing the evaluations of their respective McKinney Act demonstration and research programs, incorporate successful strategies for working with homeless people into their mainstream programs.

    Agency Affected: Department of Veterans Affairs

 

Explore the full database of GAO's Open Recommendations »

Sep 15, 2016

Sep 7, 2016

Jul 8, 2016

Mar 14, 2016

Mar 10, 2016

Feb 23, 2016

Nov 9, 2015

Sep 16, 2015

Jun 15, 2015

Jun 3, 2015

Looking for more? Browse all our products here