Rural Homelessness: Better Collaboration by HHS and HUD Could Improve Delivery of Services in Rural Areas Page: 52 of 59
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Appendix II: Comments from the Department
of Health and Human Services
GENERAL COMMENTS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN
SERVICES (HHS) ON THE GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICE'S
(GAO) DRAFT REPORT ENTITLED, "RURAL HOMELESSNESS: BETTER
COLLABORATION BY HHS AND HUD COULD IMPROVE DELIVERY OF
SERVICES IN RURAL AREAS" (GAO-10-724)
The Department appreciates the opportunity to comment on this GAO draft report.
To strengthen formal collaboration efforts, we recommend that the Secretary of Housing
and Urban Development and the Secretary of Health and Human Services direct the
appropriate program offices to further explore opportunities to more formally link
housing and supportive services--in the most appropriate forms and combinations of
mainstream and/or targeted programs identified by both agencies, with specific
consideration for how such collaboration could minimize barriers to service provision in
The Department strongly agrees with the importance of collaboration with the
Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to effectively address
homelessness. The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) and the Office of the
Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) have been actively working with
HUD in efforts to design a voucher program demonstration effort for improving services
to homeless families. In addition, on June 17, 2010, HIIS and HUD issued a letter
highlighting the opportunities for state Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
programs and HUD's Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program to
coordinate resources and improve services to homeless families.
On page 31, GAO makes a brief reference to HUD and HHS's collaboration on a
demonstration initiative around housing vouchers for homeless people, but the
description is incomplete. This important initiative, which is part of a broad collaboration
between HUD and HIIS warrants a more extensive description in the GAO report. Last
summer, HHS Secretary Sebelius and HUD Secretary Donovan initiated a collaboration
to better integrate the nation's housing, health, and human services delivery systems. The
two Departments established workgroups co-facilitated by senior IIHS and HUD officials
to identify concrete opportunities in three related areas: homelessness, community living
(for people with disabilities and the elderly), and livable homes and communities (macro-
level, healthy housing and community planning and design). Two demonstration
initiatives are included in the FY 2011 President's Budget, one involving 4,000 housing
vouchers with health, behavioral health and other supportive services for chronically
homeless persons and the other involving 6,000 housing vouchers, linked with a range of
mainstream services like job training and income assistance through the Temporary
Assistance for Needy Families program, for homeless and at-risk families with children.
Concerning the report's discussion of the need to fill gaps in supportive services for
homeless people, we note that the landmark Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
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/m1/52/: accessed May 21, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.