Homelessness:

Implementation of Food and Shelter Programs Under the McKinney Act

RCED-88-63: Published: Dec 8, 1987. Publicly Released: Dec 8, 1987.

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Pursuant to a legislative requirement, GAO evaluated the: (1) Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) purchase of goods and services prior to implementation of the Homeless Assistance Act; (2) status of actions HUD and FEMA are taking pursuant to the act; and (3) issues concerning the act that may warrant more detailed consideration.

GAO found that: (1) the agencies had not yet disbursed funds appropriated pursuant to the act; (2) FEMA allocated 50 percent of its earlier 1987 appropriations for food; and (3) the HUD localities receiving Emergency Shelter Grants Program funds planned to spend 50 percent of their funds for shelter operations and maintenance. GAO also found that, although the act required that: (1) FEMA disburse Emergency Food and Shelter Program funds by October 11, 1987, no appreciable disbursement would be likely before December 1987; and (2) HUD issue implementation requirements for its new Supplemental Assistance Program by August 21, 1987, HUD did not issue them until October 19, 1987. GAO noted several issues concerning the distribution and use of the act's funds, including: (1) HUD funding of capital improvements to shelters that religious organizations operate; (2) HUD and FEMA attempts to target programs to the required segments of the homeless population; (3) the accuracy of HUD and FEMA funds distribution formulas in measuring the need for funds in a given area; and (4) the use of federal funds as matching funds.

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