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Highlights

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the impact of the Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act in selected cities, focusing on: (1) how the act has affected the cities' efforts to assist the homeless; and (2) the problems the cities have experienced with McKinney Act programs.

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Recommendations

Matter for Congressional Consideration

Matter Status Comments
To reduce the administrative burden created by multiple application and reporting requirements, Congress may wish to consider amending the McKinney Act to: (1) enable federal agencies to establish more uniform application and reporting requirements; or (2) consolidate McKinney Act programs.
Closed - Not Implemented
Even though it has been six years since this recommendation was made, there has only been limited discussion within some congressional committees about the possibility of consolidating HUD's McKinney programs. Therefore, at this time it appears unlikely that the Congress will choose to consolidate or streamline homeless assistance programs across the federal government to reduce the administrative burdens that multiple programs pose to localities. Consequently, GAO is closing this recommendation.

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Domestic Policy Council 1. The Executive Director of the Domestic Policy Council's new working group on homelessness should disseminate summaries of the McKinney program evaluations to all of the parties on the Interagency Council on the Homeless' mailing list.
Closed - Not Implemented
The Council does not intend to take any action on this recommendation. The Council stated that in early 1995, HUD summarized all of its evaluations conducted thus far and made them available to the public. In addition, the Council is compiling a list of federal publications on homelessness from 1993-1996. This list will include agency evaluations and information on obtaining copies of the individual reports. The Council plans to send this list to national organizations. It does not intend to send it to all of the parties on its mailing list.
Department of Education 2. The Secretaries of Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, Veterans Affairs, Labor, and Education should, after completing the evaluations of their respective McKinney Act demonstration and research programs, incorporate successful strategies for working with homeless people into their mainstream programs.
Closed - Implemented
The Department believes that it has taken sufficient actions to address this recommendation, for example, disseminating information to the states. However, GAO's recent evaluation (see GAO/RCED-00-184) of the barriers that homeless people face when trying to access mainstream programs, indicates that most experts believe that federal agencies have not done enough to incorporate the lessons learned from the McKinney demonstration projects. While most federal agencies agree that they will continue to apply the lessons learned, GAO is closing out this recommendation because GAO believes that the department has no concrete plans that GAO can effectively monitor.
Department of Housing and Urban Development 3. The Secretaries of Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, Veterans Affairs, Labor, and Education should, after completing the evaluations of their respective McKinney Act demonstration and research programs, incorporate successful strategies for working with homeless people into their mainstream programs.
Closed - Implemented
Our recent evaluation (see GAO/RCED-00-184) of the barriers that homeless people face when trying to access mainstream programs, indicates that most experts believe that federal agencies have not done enough to incorporate the lessons learned from the McKinney demonstration projects. While most federal agencies agree that they will continue to apply the lessons learned, GAO is closing out this recommendation because GAO believes that the department has no concrete plans that GAO can effectively monitor.
Department of Health and Human Services 4. The Secretaries of Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, Veterans Affairs, Labor, and Education should, after completing the evaluations of their respective McKinney Act demonstration and research programs, incorporate successful strategies for working with homeless people into their mainstream programs.
Closed - Implemented
Our recent evaluation (see GAO/RCED-00-184) of the barriers that homeless people face when trying to access mainstream programs, indicates that most experts believe that federal agencies have not done enough to incorporate the lessons learned from the McKinney demonstration projects. While most federal agencies agree that they will continue to apply the lessons learned, GAO is closing out this recommendation because GAO believes that the department has no concrete plans that GAO can effectively monitor.
Department of Labor 5. The Secretaries of Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, Veterans Affairs, Labor, and Education should, after completing the evaluations of their respective McKinney Act demonstration and research programs, incorporate successful strategies for working with homeless people into their mainstream programs.
Closed - Implemented
Independent of GAO's recommendation, Labor is incorporating job training services for the homeless into its mainstream Job Training Partnership Act (JPTA) program. To facilitate this effort, in fiscal year 1994 Labor began to require that new JPTA grantees establish formal cooperative agreements with at least one grantee in Labor's Job Training for the Homeless Demonstration program to facilitate the provision of high-quality, customized, and comprehensive services to a larger number of homeless people in more geographic areas.
Department of Veterans Affairs 6. The Secretaries of Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, Veterans Affairs, Labor, and Education should, after completing the evaluations of their respective McKinney Act demonstration and research programs, incorporate successful strategies for working with homeless people into their mainstream programs.
Closed - Implemented
The Cooperative Health Manpower and Education Program (CHEP) has designed, pilot-tested, and distributed an assessment protocol to all VA medical centers (VAMC) to be used to assist in determining the needs of homeless veterans, including McKinney Act programs. An analysis of the assessment of the protocol was completed and a report was provided to Congress on January 26, 1995. VAMC will be able to use facility-specific information for continuing or implementing successful strategies for the homeless on the local level.

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