Rural Homelessness: Better Collaboration by HHS and HUD Could Improve Delivery of Services in Rural Areas Page: 15 of 59
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are reported to Congress annually for the Annual Homeless Assessment
Report (AHAR) on the extent and nature of homelessness in the United
States. Under the direction of Congress, HUD created a set of technical
data collection standards for local HMIS, instructed programs receiving
HUD McKinney-Vento funding to report to those local systems, and
encouraged all programs for homeless people, regardless of their funding
source, to report data to HMIS.'18 HMIS records and stores client-level
information on the characteristics (on an ongoing basis throughout the
year) and service needs of homeless persons and the data are used to
produce counts of the sheltered homeless population over a full year. In
addition to HMIS, the PIT counts of both sheltered and unsheltered
homeless populations are based on the number of persons experiencing
homelessness on a single night during the last week in January (every
other year), and the data are included as part of the CoC applications,
which are submitted to HUD annually.19 CoCs conduct a PIT count every
other year with 452 CoCs completing a count in 2009. PIT counts include
the "street counts" that estimate the number of unsheltered homeless
people in each community, as well as estimates of sheltered homeless
people based on a census of shelter and transitional housing occupants on
a particular night.
Although other programs are encouraged to report data to HMIS, agencies
such as HHS, Education, and VA have their own systems for collecting
data. For example, HHS's Runaway and Homeless Youth Management
Information System (RHYMIS) collects demographic and service data on
runaway and homeless youth being served by HHS's Family and Youth
Services Bureau's programs. To demonstrate compliance with the
Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), as amended,
Education collects data on homeless children and youth served by ESEA
programs and the Education of Homeless Children and Youth program
through the Consolidated State Performance Report. The McKinney-Vento
'sHUD developed the data standards pursuant to the 2001 amendments to the McKinney-
Vento Act. For a discussion of the Congressional directive, see HUD, Report to Congress:
HUD's Strategy for Homeless Data Collection, Analysis and Reporting, Congressional
Directive/HUD Study, (August 2001),
19PIT counts are conducted biennially, but HUD has compiled national data on
homelessness for AHAR in each of the last 5 years (2005-2009). In the odd numbered years,
the PIT was required for all CoCs and in 2006 and 2008 it was optional. The most recent PIT
count was conducted in January 2010. The last AHAR was issued in June 2010 and includes
data collected in January 2009.
GAO-10-724 Rural Homelessness
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United States. Government Accountability Office. Rural Homelessness: Better Collaboration by HHS and HUD Could Improve Delivery of Services in Rural Areas, report, July 20, 2010; Washington D.C.. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc301393/m1/15/: accessed May 20, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.