According to the 2003 American Housing Survey sponsored by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), nearly one-third of elderly households--those whose head was age 62 or older--were experiencing housing affordability problems. Further, a congressional commission reported in 2002 that investment in affordable housing is decreasing, although the elderly population is expected to increase. A number of federal housing programs provide assistance, including rent subsidies, mortgage insurance, and loans and grants for the purchase or repair of homes, to low-income renters and homeowners. These programs are administered primarily by HUD or the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). GAO was asked to determine the extent to which federal housing programs provide benefits to elderly households, summarize information on the programs' effectiveness in assisting the elderly and supportive services, and determine how HUD and USDA avoid overlap and duplication in their programs.
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