Rural Homelessness: Better Collaboration by HHS and HUD Could Improve Delivery of Services in Rural Areas Page: 33 of 59
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Possible needs Structural barriers Applicant-related barriers
* Limited health care providers, * May not qualify for services due to program
including dental and vision care. definitions.
* Limited mental health providers. * Lack of personal identification.
* Limited or no substance abuse * Lack of contact information.
services. * May not seek services due to pride or privacy.
* Limited access to providers. * Lack ability to successfully apply for services.
* Limited case managers. * Lack knowledge of available assistance.
* Lack of transportation to get to
Barriers to the Rural
Lack of Affordable
Housing, and Challenges
Related to Geography and
According to state and local officials and local service providers in the
states we visited, administrative burden, lack of affordable housing, and
challenges related to geography and population density were barriers for
rural homeless service providers. Some of the local service providers with
whom we spoke indicated that they operated with limited staff and, due to
capacity issues, assumed a wide variety of responsibilities from providing
direct service to clients to applying for federal and other grants. In
particular, service providers in rural areas with whom we spoke have
responded to limited resources by applying to, and assembling multiple
funding sources from both state and federal programs. As a result, the time
consumed in grant writing and meeting the various compliance and review
requirements set by statute represented an administrative and workload
burden, according to service providers and state officials with whom we
spoke. For example, providers in Maine expressed frustration with the
duplicative review for the Supportive Housing Grant Program and tenant-
based Section 8 Program, both of which HUD administers but under
separate authorities. According to some service providers with whom we
spoke, many grant applications also require data to demonstrate resource
needs. Especially in rural areas with no shelters or visible points of entry
for services, counts of the homeless are not documented, and without data
it is hard to prove that the services are needed. Because of the
administrative burden and challenges in meeting application requirements,
some providers with whom we spoke were discouraged from applying for
funds from certain programs. A coalition we spoke to in Maine said that
many of its members were discouraged by the requirements of programs
that received stimulus funds and therefore considered not applying for
them. Also, as described in our June 2010 report, issues related to multiple
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/m1/33/: accessed May 20, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.