Rural Homelessness: Better Collaboration by HHS and HUD Could Improve Delivery of Services in Rural Areas Page: 8 of 59
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such as cash assistance, housing, food, health care, and job training, for
low-income people including those experiencing homelessness. Targeted
programs-such as the Emergency Shelter Grant and Runaway and
Homeless Youth programs-also provide a range of services but are
designed specifically for individuals or families experiencing
The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (McKinney-Vento) is the
principal federal legislation designed to provide funding for shelter and
services to persons experiencing homelessness.5 McKinney-Vento
originally consisted of 15 programs providing, among other things,
resources for emergency shelter, transitional housing, job training,
primary health care, education, and permanent housing. The current act
has been amended several times and was most recently reauthorized by
the HEARTH Act. For the most part, these amendments have expanded
the scope and strengthened the provisions of the original legislation by
expanding eligible activities and creating new programs. This legislation
continues to represent the primary source of funding for targeted
programs serving persons experiencing homelessness. HUD administers
both competitive and formula-based McKinney-Vento programs that fund
activities to address homelessness in rural and nonrural areas. HUD's
competitively awarded homeless programs comprise the "Continuum of
Care" (CoC) system. According to HUD, the program is based on the
understanding that homelessness is not caused solely by a lack of shelter,
but also involves other physical, social, and economic needs. Through the
CoC system HUD allocates homeless assistance grants to organizations
that participate in homeless assistance program planning networks. The
planning network or CoC refers to a group of providers and key
stakeholders in a geographical area-a city, a county, a metropolitan area,
or an entire state-that join to plan for the homeless housing and service
system within that geographic area and apply for HUD's competitive
homeless program funding.' Rural areas typically organize into regional or
4The HEARTH Act changed various aspects of the Emergency Shelter Grant program and
also changed the name of the program to the Emergency Solutions Grant program. Pub. L.
No. 111-22 1201.
5The act was originally named the Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act, Pub. L.
No. 100-77 (July 22, 1987), but was renamed as the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance
Act in 2000, Pub. L. No. 106-400 (Oct. 30, 2000).
6The HEARTH Act codified the CoC process. Pub. L. No. 111-22 1301. Among other things,
the act requires a collaborative application for each geographic area applying for HUD
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/m1/8/: accessed May 22, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.