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Highlights

The Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing Act of 2009 (HEARTH Act) directed GAO to study the appropriate administrative costs of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Emergency Shelter Grants Program (ESG)--a widely used, formula-based program that supports services to persons experiencing homelessness. This report discusses (1) for selected recipients, the types of administrative activities performed and administrative costs incurred under the ESG program, and the extent to which grant proceeds cover these administrative costs; (2) how the ESG program's allowance for administrative costs compares with administrative cost allowances for selected other targeted federal homeless grant programs, plus selected other HUD formula-based grant programs; and (3) how the nature or amount of administrative costs might be different under changes Congress made to the ESG program in the HEARTH Act that expand the types of activities that may be funded. To address these issues, GAO reviewed relevant policies and documents, interviewed officials of HUD and other agencies, made site visits in four states, reviewed HUD and other available standards on eligible administrative costs for federal grants, and reviewed cost allowances for homeless programs of the Departments of Education, Labor, and Health and Human Services. GAO makes no recommendations in this report.

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