Homelessness:

Consolidating HUD's McKinney Programs

T-RCED-00-187: Published: May 23, 2000. Publicly Released: May 23, 2000.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO discussed the potential need to consolidate homeless assistance programs administered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), focusing on the: (1) different program requirements for HUD's four Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act programs--the Emergency Shelter Grants Program, the Supportive Housing Program, the Shelter Plus Care Program, and the Section 8 Single-Room Occupancy Program; (2) coordination and administrative challenges that the four programs pose; and (3) actions that HUD has taken to overcome these challenges.

GAO noted that: (1) each of HUD's four McKinney programs addresses a distinct need of a specific segment of the homeless population; (2) each of the four programs has its own set of eligibility and funding requirements that are established by the authorizing legislation; (3) these varying requirements have resulted in challenges for HUD in ensuring that adequate coordination occurs among the programs and that they are delivered efficiently without creating undue administrative burdens for the states and communities; (4) HUD has taken actions to overcome the coordination and administrative challenges that these separate programs with varying requirements pose; (5) to improve coordination, HUD developed a Continuum of Care model for homeless assistance that requires communities to implement a coordinated process for identifying the diverse needs of the homeless population in their area and developing systems to respond to these needs; (6) to address the needs identified in their Continuum of Care plans, communities can receive funds from all four of HUD's McKinney programs; (7) to help reduce the administrative burden of applying for three separate competitive grant programs, HUD streamlined the application process for the three programs and combined them into a single national competition, with a single application process, and similar timeframes and rating criteria; (8) HUD's actions have improved the coordination of homeless assistance programs within communities and have helped reduce some of the administrative burdens that separate programs cause; (9) however, additional efficiencies can only be achieved if the underlying differences between these programs are addressed; and (10) consolidation of HUD's McKinney programs can help further reduce the administrative burdens on communities if program eligibility and funding requirements are also streamlined and simplified.

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