New GAO Reports
Source: Government Accountability Office
1. Veteran Homelessness: VA and HUD Are Working to Improve Data on Supportive Housing Program. GAO-12-726, June 26.
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/600/591905.pdf
2. VA/DOD Federal Health Care Center: Costly Information Technology Delays Continue and Evaluation Plan Lacking. GAO-12-669, June 26.
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/600/591897.pdf
3. DOD Financial Management: Improvements Needed in Prompt Payment Monitoring and Reporting. GAO-12-662R, June 26.
4. Supplemental Security Income: Better Management Oversight Needed for Children’s Benefits. GAO-12-497, June 26.
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/600/591873.pdf
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Supplemental Security Income: State Trends in Applications, Allowances, and Benefit Receipts for Children with Mental Impairments (GAO-12-498SP, June 2012), an E-supplement to GAO-12-497. GAO-12-498SP, June 26.
New GAO Reports and TestimonySource: Government Accountability Office
1. Defense Management: Actions Needed to Evaluate the Impact of Efforts to Estimate Costs of Reports and Studies. GAO-12-480R, May 10.
2. Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute: Review of the Audit of the Financial Statements for 2011 and 2010. GAO-12-663R, May 10.
3. Security Force Assistance: Additional Actions Needed to Guide Geographic Combatant Command and Service Efforts. GAO-12-556, May 10.
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/600/590769.pdf
4. Homelessness: Fragmentation and Overlap in Programs Highlight the Need to Identify, Assess, and Reduce Inefficiencies. GAO-12-491, May 10.
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/600/590781.pdf
1. Unconventional Oil and Gas Production: Opportunities and Challenges of Oil Shale Development, by Anu K. Mittal, director, natural resources and environment, before the Subcommittee on Energy and Environment, House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. GAO-12-740T, May 10.
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/600/590763.pdf
Audit of VHA’s Homeless Providers Grant and Per Diem Program (PDF)
Source: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Inspector General
We conducted this audit to determine whether community agencies receiving funds from the Grant and Per Diem Program (GPDP) are providing services to homeless veterans as agreed upon in their grant agreements or authorized changes of scope. We also examined whether program funding is effectively aligned with program priorities. We found the VHA GPDP provided services to homeless veterans and had successfully assisted veterans to live independently in safe and affordable permanent housing. However, an incomplete grant application evaluation process; a lack of program safety, security, health, and welfare standards; and an inconsistent monitoring program impacted the program’s effectiveness. As a result, VHA did not ensure homeless veterans consistently received the supportive services agreed to in approved grants. In addition, funding was not effectively aligned with program goals. We recommended strengthening the grant application and evaluation process by publishing policies and standards, updating the inspection checklists, and implementing procedures to ensure grant providers had the capability to deliver services. The Under Secretary for Health concurred with our findings and recommendations and provided appropriate action plans.
+ Full Report (PDF)
The State of Homelessness in America 2012
Source: National Alliance to End Homelessness
The State of Homelessness in America 2012 examines homelessness between 2009 and 2011, a period of economic downturn in the nation. The report shows that despite the bad economy, homelessness decreased by 1 percent during this period. The decrease was likely due to a significant investment of federal resources to prevent homelessness and quickly re-house people who did become homeless. The Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program (HPRP, funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009) was a $1.5 billion federal effort to prevent a recession-related increase in homelessness. It was built upon ground-breaking work at the federal level and in jurisdictions across the nation to improve the homelessness system by adopting evidence-based, cost effective interventions. In 2010, its first year of operation, it assisted nearly 700,000 at-risk and homeless people. This report provides evidence that it was successful in achieving its goal of preventing a significant increase in homelessness.
Hate Crimes against the Homeless: Violence Hidden in Plain View (PDF)
Source: National Coalition for the Homeless
In the past twelve years (1999-2010), the National Coalition for the Homeless (NCH) has documented one thousand, one hundred eighty-four acts of violence against homeless individuals by housed perpetrators. These crimes are believed to be motivated by the perpetrators’ bias against homeless individuals or their ability to target homeless people with relative ease. The documented violence includes everything from murder to beatings, rapes, and setting people on fire. Hate Crimes against the Homeless: Violence Hidden in Plain View is the twelfth annual report documenting violence against homeless persons.
The violence continues, and with twenty-four known deaths, 2010 ranks in the top-five deadliest years for attacks on homeless people in a decade, and with one hundred thirteen attacks, ranks as the fourth most violent year since NCH began tracking the violence in 1999. NCH has found startling data in the number and severity of attacks. However, the reports also acknowledge that since the homeless community is treated so poorly in our society, many more attacks go unreported. Hate crimes against the homeless community is a growing wave in need of public attention.
- 1,184 reported acts of bias motivated violence have been committed against homeless individuals between 1999-2010.
- 312 homeless individuals lost their lives as a result of the attacks
- Reported violence has occurred in 47 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington, DC
Our data also suggests that the perpetrators of these attacks tend to be young men and teenage boys. In the twelve year history of our hate crime reports, the vast majority of the attacks against homeless people have been committed by youth as young as nine years old.
New GAO Reports
Source: Government Accountability Office
1. Homeless Women Veterans: Actions Needed to Ensure Safe and Appropriate Housing. GAO-12-182, December 23.
2. Prescription Pain Reliever Abuse: Agencies Have Begun Coordinating Education Efforts, but Need to Assess Effectiveness. GAO-12-115, December 22.
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/590/587300.pdf
3. Department of Justice: Working Capital Fund Adheres to Some Operating Principles But Could Better Measure Performance and Communicate With Customers. GAO-12-289, January 20.
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/590/587849.pdf
1.6 Million Children Homeless in America (PDF)Source: National Center on Family Homelessness
More than 1.6 million children or one in 45 are homeless annually in America—according to a new report released today by The National Center on Family Homelessness. This represents an increase of 38% during the years impacted by the economic recession (2007 to 2010). The 124- page report, America’s Youngest Outcasts 2010, ranks the 50 states from best (1) to worst (50) and offers specific policy solutions.
The report, which updates a previous study by The National Center, looks at trends in child homeless from 2006 to 2010 using data and research on the extent of child homelessness, child well-being, risk for homelessness, and state policy and planning efforts. Data from the original report showed that more than one in 50 children were homeless annually in America. That dropped to one in 63 in the recovery from Hurricanes Rita and Katrina and has increased since.
+ Full Report (PDF)
New GAO Reports and Testimonies
Source: Government Accountability Office
1. Arlington National Cemetery: Management Improvements Made, but a Strategy Is Needed to Address Remaining Challenges. GAO-12-105, December 15.
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/590/587016.pdf
2. Arlington National Cemetery: Additional Actions Needed to Continue Improvements in Contract Management. GAO-12-99, December 15.
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/590/586983.pdf
4. Delphi Pension Plans: GM Agreements with Unions Give Rise to Unique Differences in Participant Benefits. GAO-12-168, December 15.
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/590/587046.pdf
5. Coast Guard: Communication of Post-Government Employment Restrictions Can Be Strengthened. GAO-12-174, December 15.
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/590/587041.pdf
6. DOD Health Care: Actions Needed to Help Ensure Full Compliance and Complete Documentation for Physician Credentialing and Privileging. GAO-12-31, December 15.
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/590/586995.pdf
7. Medicare: Many Factors, Including Administrative Challenges, Affect Access to Part D Vaccinations. GAO-12-61, December 15.
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/590/587010.pdf
8. National Aeronautics and Space Administration: Acquisition Approach for Commercial Crew Transportation Includes Good Practices, but Faces Significant Challenges. GAO-12-282, December 15.
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/590/587023.pdf
9. International Space Station: Approaches for Ensuring Utilization through 2020 Are Reasonable but Should Be Revisited as NASA Gains More Knowledge of On-Orbit Performance. GAO-12-162,December 15.
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/590/587030.pdf
10. Health Care Coverage: Job Lock and the Potential Impact of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. GAO-12-166R, December 15.
1. Drug Shortages: FDA’s Ability to Respond Should Be Strengthened, by Marcia Crosse, Director of Health Care Issues, before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. GAO-12-315T, December 15.
2. Homelessness: To Improve Data and Programs, Agencies Have Taken Steps to Develop a Common Vocabulary, by Alicia Puente Cackley, Director of Financial Markets and Community Investment, before the Subcommittee on Insurance, Housing, and Community Opportunity, House Committee on Financial Services. GAO-12-302T, December 15.
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/590/586997.pdf
Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CESC) and Youth Homelessness
Source: National Alliance to End Homelessness
CSEC is A Growing Problem
It is commonly estimated that 100,000 children are victims of commercial sexual exploitation each year. Futher, there is evidence that the number of children being exploited is increasing. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) reports there is an increase in the online solicitation and “grooming” of children for CSEC, the incidence and violence of online pornography involving children, and online advertisements of children available for prostitution.
CSEC may be growing in part because it is highly lucrative. DOJ reports CSEC is growing in popularity because it conveys greater financial gains with fewer risks than the drug trade and other illegal activities. It is also challenging for law enforcement to combat. Solicitation of prostitution is moving from city streets to online forums and pimps move children frequently between cities. It is difficult, therefore, to identify children victimized by CSEC and when children are identified they are more likely to be arrested for prostitution than those who solicited or exploited them.
CSEC and Human Trafficking
Children who are victims of CSEC and youth over 18 who engage in sexual acts as a result of coercion, fraud, or force are also considered to be victims of human trafficking under federal statute. This applies to children and youth engaged in pornography, sexual entertainment industries, “survival sex” (trading sex to meet youth’s basic needs for food and shelter), and prostitution. Children are considered to be victims of trafficking even when they seem to be engaging willingly in sexual acts. CSEC is the most common form of human trafficking of U.S. citizens and runaway and homeless youth are often its victims.
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National Survey of Homeless Veterans in 100,000 Homes Campaign Communities (PDF)
Source: 100,000 Homes
Combat ought to be the most difficult experience of a veteran’s life, but many veterans go on to become homeless for eight or nine times the length of their deployments.
Trained volunteers with the 100,000 Homes Campaign surveyed over 23,000 homeless Americans in 47 communities across the country and found that veterans tend to be homeless longer than non-veterans. In fact, homeless veterans reported an average of nearly six years homeless, compared to four years among non-veterans. Among those who reported spending two or more years homeless, veterans reported an average of nearly nine years homeless, compared to just over seven for non-veterans. Age accounted for only part of this disparity.
Length of homelessness matters because the longer people spend on the streets, the more health risks they tend to develop. Among the 62% of homeless veterans who reported two or more years of homelessness, over 61% reported a serious physical health condition, 55% reported a mental health condition, 76% reported a substance abuse habit, and 32% reported all three.
As a group, veterans were 11 percentage points more likely to suffer from at least one condition linked to increased risk of death among the homeless population, which means the men and women who risked their lives defending America may be far more likely to die on its streets.
The Characteristics and Needs of Families Experiencing Homelessness (PDF)
Source: National Center on Family Homelessness
Among industrialized nations, the United States has the largest number of homeless women and children. Not since the Great Depression have so many families been without homes. The statistics below are the best estimates of the extent of homelessness, but it is important to note that they are undercounts.
- Homeless families comprise roughly 1/3 of the total homeless population.
- Approximately 1.5 million children will experience homelessness over the course of a year. In any given day, researchers estimate that more than 200,000 children have no place to live.
- People counted in the single adult homeless population (about 2.3-3.5 million annually) are also part of families:
- Among all homeless women, 60% have children under age 18, but only 65% of them live with at least one of these children.
- Among all homeless men, 41% have children under age 18, but only 7% live with at least one of their own children.
Veterans and Homelessness (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)
The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have brought renewed attention to the needs of veterans, including the needs of homeless veterans. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) reported that in FY2008 it assessed more than 1,500 veterans who served in the Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom theater of operations for participation in its Health Care for Homeless Veterans Program. Both male and female veterans have been overrepresented in the homeless population, and as the number of veterans increases due to these conflicts, there is concern that the number of homeless veterans could rise commensurately. The current economic downturn also has raised concerns that homelessness could increase among all groups, including veterans.
Congress has created numerous programs that serve homeless veterans specifically, almost all of which are funded through the Veterans Health Administration. These programs provide health care and rehabilitation services for homeless veterans (the Health Care for Homeless Veterans and Domiciliary Care for Homeless Veterans programs), employment assistance (Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program and Compensated Work Therapy program), and transitional housing (Grant and Per Diem program) as well as other supportive services. The VA also works with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to provide permanent supportive housing to homeless veterans through the HUD-VA Supported Housing Program (HUD-VASH). In the HUD-VASH program, HUD funds rental assistance through Section 8 vouchers while the VA provides supportive services. In addition, two newly enacted programs focus on homelessness prevention through supportive services: the VA’s Supportive Services for Veteran Families program and a VA and HUD homelessness prevention demonstration program.
Several issues regarding veterans and homelessness have become prominent, in part because of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. One issue is ending homelessness among veterans. In November 2009, the VA announced a plan to end homelessness within five years. Both the VA and HUD have taken steps to increase housing and services for homeless veterans. Funding for VA programs has increased in recent years (see Table 4) and Congress has appropriated funds to increase available units of permanent supportive housing through the HUD-VASH program. In each of the FY2008, FY2009, and FY2010 HUD appropriations acts, Congress provided funds sufficient to support more than 10,000 new vouchers per year, which have been distributed to housing authorities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Guam. The FY2011 Department of Defense and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act (P.L. 112-10) provided an additional $50 million for HUD-VASH.
A second issue is the concern that veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan who are at risk of homelessness may not receive the services they need. Efforts are being made to coordinate services between the VA and Department of Defense to ensure that those leaving military service transition to VA programs. In addition, concerns have risen about the needs of female veterans, whose numbers are increasing. Women veterans face challenges that could contribute to their risks of homelessness. They are more likely to have experienced sexual trauma than women in the general population and are more likely than male veterans to be single parents. Few homeless programs for veterans have the facilities to provide separate accommodations for women and women with children.
Active Tuberculosis among Homeless Persons, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, 1998–2007 (PDF)
Source: Emerging Infectious Diseases
While tuberculosis (TB) in Canadian cities is increasingly affecting foreign-born persons, homeless persons remain at high risk. To assess trends in TB, we studied all homeless persons in Toronto who had a diagnosis of active TB during 1998–2007. We compared Canada-born and foreign-born homeless persons and assessed changes over time. We identified 91 homeless persons with active TB; they typically had highly contagious, advanced disease, and 19% died within 12 months of diagnosis. The proportion of homeless persons who were foreign-born increased from 24% in 1998–2002 to 39% in 2003–2007. Among foreign-born homeless persons with TB, 56% of infections were caused by strains not known to circulate among homeless persons in Toronto. Only 2% of infections were resistant to first-line TB medications. The rise in foreign-born homeless persons with TB strains likely acquired overseas suggests that the risk for drug-resistant strains entering the homeless shelter system may be escalating.