About one-third of the nation's adult homeless population are veterans, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Many of these veterans have experienced substance abuse, mental illness, or both. The VA's Homeless Providers Grant and Per Diem (GPD) program, which is up for reauthorization, provides transitional housing to help veterans prepare for permanent housing. As requested, GAO reviewed (1) VA homeless veterans estimates and the number of transitional housing beds, (2) the extent of collaboration involved in the provision of GPD and related services, and (3) VA's assessment of GPD program performance. GAO analyzed VA data and methods used for the homeless estimates and performance assessment, and visited selected GPD providers in four states to observe the extent of collaboration.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Department of Veterans Affairs||To improve and evaluate the GPD program, and to aid GPD providers in better understanding the GPD policies and procedures, VA should take steps to ensure that its policies are understood by the staff and providers who are to implement them. For example, VA could make more information, such as issues discussed during conference calls, available in writing or online, hold an annual conference, or provide training that may also include local VA staff.|
|Department of Veterans Affairs||To improve and evaluate the GPD program, and to better understand the circumstances of veterans after they leave the GPD program, VA should explore feasible and cost-effective ways to obtain such information, where possible using data from GPD providers and other VA sources. For example, VA could review ways to use the data from its own follow-up health assessments and from GPD providers who collect follow-up information on the circumstances of veterans whom they have served.|