Rural Homelessness: Better Collaboration by HHS and HUD Could Improve Delivery of Services in Rural Areas Page: 45 of 59
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HUD commented that they have undertaken efforts to better align their
homelessness data with homelessness data from HHS and VA. We
acknowledged these efforts in the report. HUD also commented that the
report indicates that effective collaboration hinges predominately on the
use of a common vocabulary and offered barriers it considers more
significant to effective collaboration. Discussions of issues related to a
common vocabulary are not described in this report but are included in
our June 2010 report.' Additionally, while HUD agrees with our discussion
about the proportion of CoC dollars awarded for supportive services
activities having decreased, they commented that the total dollar amount
associated with those service remains significant. We do not suggest that
the total dollar amount of HUD funded supportive services is insignificant,
but rather that the decrease in the proportion of dollars for supportive
services has contributed to a gap in funding for providers. Further, HUD
commented that it has worked with HHS to improve access by homeless
persons to their programs and that federal coordination and collaboration
are evident in the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness's Federal
Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness. We recognize in our
report actions that HUD and HHS have taken to collaborate; however, we
believe that we correctly assess the opportunities for further progress by
the agencies in linking housing and supportive services across their
HUD also commented that it agreed that a common vocabulary among
federal agencies and increased collaboration would improve the delivery
of services in rural areas, but that the existence of both of these elements
does not equate to a seamless integration of various streams of funding to
create a project to serve homeless persons. We are not suggesting that a
common vocabulary and increased collaboration by themselves will
equate to a seamless integration of funding streams, but we believe that it
could help to improve the delivery of services. Finally, HUD commented
that it believes our report's focus on the anecdotal experiences of local
providers does not provide a complete picture of efforts made by HUD
regarding data collection, interagency collaboration, and the funding of
supportive services. As noted earlier, we did not seek to repeat the level of
detail on HUD's efforts regarding data collection as had already been
included in our June 2010 report and we refer readers to this report for
additional information.55 Also, while our report provides the perspectives
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/m1/45/: accessed May 20, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.