HUD's and FEMA's Progress in Implementing the McKinney Act Gao ID: RCED-89-50 May 11, 1989

Pursuant to a legislative requirement, GAO evaluated the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) disbursement and use of appropriations for homeless assistance programs.

GAO found that: (1) FEMA increased its ability to provide year-round funding for its Emergency Food and Shelter program by extending its spending period and establishing plans for grant approval and review for more timely distribution; (2) HUD was generally timely in reviewing and approving funds for its programs, although it disbursed only a limited amount of funds due to lengthy funding periods, recipients working on a reimbursable basis, and lack of applications; (3) poverty and unemployment data used to allocate FEMA and HUD funds did not always reflect community needs; and (4) HUD distributed Emergency Shelter grant funds to communities in proportion to their homeless populations, including some communities with few homeless persons. GAO also found that a national survey of 1987 Emergency Food and Shelter program recipients indicated that: (1) recipients cited unemployment, low wages, decreases in available subsidized housing, and increased housing costs as significantly contributing to homelessness; (2) 40 percent of grant recipients provided shelter, with 26 percent going to children under 16 years of age and 63 percent to 17- through 55-year-olds; (3) 70 percent of recipients believed that overall demand for services increased between 1987 and 1988; (4) 46 percent believed that FEMA funds enabled them to provide more assistance; and (5) 80 percent were satisfied with FEMA requirements and guidelines.


Our recommendations from this work are listed below with a Contact for more information. Status will change from "In process" to "Open," "Closed - implemented," or "Closed - not implemented" based on our follow up work.

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