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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the effectiveness of efforts to assist homeless veterans, focusing on: (1) describing the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) homeless programs; (2) determining what VA knows about the effectiveness of its homeless programs; and (3) examining promising approaches aimed at different groups of homeless veterans.

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Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Veterans Affairs The Secretary of Veterans Affairs should direct the Under Secretary for Health and the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Analysis to collaborate on conducting a series of program evaluation studies to clarify the effectiveness of VA's core homeless programs and provide information about how to improve those programs. Where appropriate, VA should make decisions about these studies (including the type of data needed and the methods to be used) in coordination with other federal agencies with homeless programs, including the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Department of Labor.
Closed - Not Implemented
VA has focused its evaluation efforts on current or planned programs that are targeted to specific subsets of homeless veterans, rather than its core homeless programs. For example, VA has recently begun implementing several new programs for specific groups of homeless veterans; outcome data will be collected for these new programs. VA has indicated its intention to compare the data it collected previously from core VA homeless programs to data that are currently being collected through a project spearheaded by the Department of Health and Human Services. VA has not indicated an intention to conduct additional program evaluation studies of its core homeless programs.

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