HousingHUD's Program for Persons With AIDS Gao ID: RCED-97-62 March 24, 1997
The Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDS was established within the Department of Housing and Urban Development by the National Affordable Housing Act of 1990. GAO was asked to answer a number of questions about the rationale for the program, the activities it funds, whom it serves, and it is coordinated with other AIDS assistance programs, and how it is monitored. Congress established the program in 1990 in response to concerns that existing housing resources were not meeting the needs of people with AIDS, who often had difficulty obtaining suitable housing because of the need for supportive services, discrimination, or other problems. Grantees can use funds from the program for a broad range of housing assistance and supportive services intended to prevent homelessness. Limited data indicates about 71 percent of the funds expended have been used to provide housing assistance, about 16 percent to provide supportive services; and the remaining 13 percent to provide housing information services and administrative costs. The program generally provides assistance to low-income individuals suffering from AIDS/HIV and their families. Coordination between the HOPWA program and the Ryan-White programs, which provide grants to states and localities to fund a wide range of services to assist persons with AIDS/HIV, occurs primarily at the grantee level. Several grantees and project sponsors told GAO the two programs could be better coordinated. HUD's field offices are primarily responsible for the oversight and monitoring of grantees under the HOPWA program, and field offices can use a variety of tools to oversee grantees and monitor their use of funds.
GAO noted that: (1) the legislative history for the HOPWA program indicates that the Congress established the program within HUD in 1990 because the existing housing resources at the time were reportedly not meeting the needs of people with AIDS, who often had difficulty obtaining suitable housing because of the need for supportive services, discrimination, or other problems; (2) HUD and HHS officials, along with several grantees and project sponsors GAO contacted, generally believe that these problems still exist and that the HOPWA program is still needed to counteract them; (3) grantees can use funds for a broad range of housing assistance and supportive services intended to prevent homelessness; (4) the limited data available from HUD indicate that about 71 percent of the funds that have been expended has been used to provide housing assistance, about 16 percent has been used to provide supportive services independent of housing assistance, and the remaining 13 percent has been used for housing information services, resource identification, and grantees' and project sponsors' administrative costs; (5) however, it should be recognized that these data do not fully reflect the grantees' use of program appropriations; (6) as of October 7, 1996, the grantees had expended 37 percent of the total funds appropriated since fiscal year 1992, and the grantees' reports describing their use of program funds available from HUD's Office of HIV/AIDS Housing covered only 27 percent of the funds that the grantees had expended during that time; (7) under the Department's regulations, the program generally provides assistance to low-income individuals with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or AIDS and their families; (8) GAO's analysis of the limited data available from the Office of HIV/AIDS Housing indicates that 70 percent of the program participants received housing assistance, while about 30 percent received supportive services not associated with housing assistance funded by the program; (9) of those that received housing assistance, about 67 percent were adult males, and about 70 percent had incomes below $500 per month; (10) coordination between the HOPWA and Ryan White Titles I and II programs, which provide grants to states and localities to fund a wide range of services to assist people with HIV/AIDS, occurs primarily at the grantee level; (11) according to officials in HUD and HHS, coordination of the two programs is basically informal; (12) HUD field offices are primarily responsible for the oversight and monitoring of grantees under the program; and (13) headquarters directs and monitors the field offices' oversight of the grant programs.Recommendations
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