Rural Homelessness: Better Collaboration by HHS and HUD Could Improve Delivery of Services in Rural Areas Page: 53 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)
will contribute greatly to filling those gaps. Medicaid will be expanded to nearly all
individuals under the age of 65 with incomes up to 133 percent of the federal poverty
level. This significant expansion will allow more families and adults without dependent
children to enroll in Medicaid in 2014 or before. In addition, the Affordable Care Act will
support demonstrations to improve the ability of psychiatric facilities to provide
emergency services. It will also expand the availability of medical homes for individuals
with chronic conditions, including severe and persistent mental illness. Expansion of
Community Health Centers is another major change that will serve many vulnerable
populations, including those who are homeless or at risk of being homeless.
The discussion about services and their funding sources throughout the report needs to
distinguish between linking homeless individuals with the services that they need and
aligning services with housing programs that target specific homeless populations.
Homeless populations range from those who experience a crisis driven short-term
experience of homelessness to those who are chronically homeless for long periods and
have complex and multiple service needs. Many individuals and families only need
temporary access to housing assistance to escape homelessness, while others, especially
chronically homeless individuals, may need longer term housing along with supportive
The following are two current examples of demonstration projects in ACF's Family and
Youth Services Bureau (FYSB) that focus on rural homeless populations.
Rural Host Home Demonstration Project
The Basic Center Program (BCP) provides shelter and support services to assist youth in
crisis, re-unite them with their families, as appropriate, strengthen their family
relationships; and help them transition to safe and appropriate alternative living
arrangements where they can become independent, self-sufficient and contributing
members of society. The Rural Host Homes Demonstration Project was designed to
expand those services to runaway and homeless youth who reside in rural areas not
served by shelter facilities.
* Expanding Opportunities for Service
Organizations funded through this demonstration project are required to recruit, screen,
train, and provide ongoing support to host home families that provide services to youth in
their homes. While in the program, youth under age 18 receive:
* shelter for up to 21 days,
* individual, family, and group counseling services,
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/m1/53/: accessed May 27, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.