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Southwest Border Security: Additional Actions Needed to Better Assess Fencing's Contributions to Operations and Provide Guidance for Identifying Capability Gaps

Description: Border fencing is intended to benefit border security operations in various ways, according to officials from the U.S. Border Patrol (Border Patrol), which is within the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). For example, according to officials, border fencing supports Border Patrol agents' ability to execute essential tasks, such as identifying illicit-cross border activities. CBP collects data that could help provide insight into how border fencing contributes to border security operations, including the location of illegal entries. However, CBP has not developed metrics that systematically use these, among other data it collects, to assess the contributions of border fencing to its mission. For example, CBP could potentially use these data to determine the extent to which border fencing diverts illegal entrants into more rural and remote environments, and border fencing's impact, if any, on apprehension rates over time. Developing metrics to assess the contributions of fencing to border security operations could better position CBP to make resource allocation decisions with the best information available to inform competing mission priorities and investments. CBP is taking a number of steps to sustain tactical infrastructure (TI) along the southwest border; however, it continues to face certain challenges in maintaining this infrastructure, such as addressing maintenance of roads owned or operated by other public and private entities. In 2014, according to Border Patrol officials, Border Patrol began implementing the Requirements Management Process that is designed to facilitate planning for funding and deploying TI and other requirements. Border Patrol headquarters and sector officials told GAO that Border Patrol lacks adequate guidance for identifying, funding, and deploying TI needs as part of this process. In addition, officials reported experiencing some confusion about their roles and responsibilities in this process. Developing guidance on this process would be consistent with federal internal control …
Date: February 2017
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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VA Health Care: Actions Needed to Prevent Sexual Assaults and Other Safety Incidents

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Changes in patient demographics present unique challenges for VA in providing safe environments for all veterans treated in Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) facilities. GAO was asked to examine whether or not sexual assault incidents are fully reported and what factors may contribute to any observed underreporting, how facility staff determine sexual assault-related risks veterans may pose in residential and inpatient mental health settings, and precautions facilities take to prevent sexual assaults and other safety incidents. GAO reviewed relevant laws, VA policies, and sexual assault incident documentation from January 2007 through July 2010 provided by VA officials and the VA Office of the Inspector General (OIG). In addition, GAO visited and reviewed portions of selected veterans' medical records at five judgmentally selected VA medical facilities chosen to ensure the residential and inpatient mental health units at the facilities varied in size and complexity. Finally, GAO spoke with the four Veterans Integrated Service Networks (VISN) that oversee these VA medical facilities."
Date: June 7, 2011
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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National Parks Air Tour Fees: Effective Verification and Enforcement Are Needed to Improve Compliance

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993 (the fees legislation) required the National Park Service to begin collecting fees from operators that conduct air tours over national park units that meet certain criteria. Currently, only Grand Canyon, Haleakala, and Hawaii Volcanoes National Parks meet the criteria to charge air tour fees. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), in cooperation with the Park Service, also regulates air tours over park units pursuant to the National Parks Overflights Act of 1987 and the National Parks Air Tour Management Act of 2000. GAO was asked to (1) assess the Park Service's collection of air tour fees and (2) identify what factors, if any, hinder the collection of air tour fees. GAO is also providing information on the possible expansion of air tour fees to additional park units."
Date: May 11, 2006
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Bankruptcy and Child Support Enforcement: Improved Information Sharing Possible without Routine Data Matching

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Recognizing the importance of child support, the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 requires that if a parent with child support obligations files for bankruptcy, a bankruptcy trustee must notify the relevant custodial parent and state child support enforcement agency so that they may participate in the case. The act also required GAO to study the feasibility of matching bankruptcy records with child support records to assure that filers with child support obligations are identified. GAO therefore (1) identified the percent of bankruptcy filers with obligations nationwide, (2) examined the potential for routine data matching to facilitate the identification of filers with child support obligations, and (3) studied the feasibility and cost of doing so. GAO interviewed child support enforcement and bankruptcy officials at the federal level and in six states. GAO also conducted a nationwide test data match and reviewed national bankruptcy filings for people with support obligations in Texas for an indication of whether filers are failing to provide this information."
Date: January 23, 2008
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Depot Maintenance: Improvements Needed to Achieve Benefits from Consolidations and Funding Changes at Naval Shipyards

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "To improve fleet support activities, the Navy is consolidating maintenance facilities and converting its shipyards from financing under the Navy Working Capital Fund to funding through direct appropriations (direct funding). Puget Sound Naval Shipyard was converted to direct funding in 2003. The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2006 directed the Navy to assess the impact of converting Puget Sound to direct funding and directed that GAO review the Navy's report. The Navy submitted its report to Congress in March 2006, confirming its position that direct funding was more advantageous than working capital funding and can best satisfy fleet maintenance priorities. GAO's objectives were to evaluate the extent to which the Navy's report (1) provided data and other supporting evidence for its overall assessment of the impact of converting Puget Sound to direct funding, (2) addressed unresolved issues that had been identified in prior studies, and (3) disclosed any other issues that have affected the implementation of direct funding."
Date: September 14, 2006
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Private Pensions: Low Defined Contribution Plan Savings May Pose Challenges to Retirement Security, Especially for Many Low-Income Workers

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Over the last 25 years, pension coverage has shifted primarily from "traditional" defined benefit (DB) plans, in which workers accrue benefits based on years of service and earnings, toward defined contribution (DC) plans, in which participants accumulate retirement balances in individual accounts. DC plans provide greater portability of benefits, but shift the responsibility of saving for retirement from employers to employees. This report addresses the following issues: (1) What percentage of workers participate in DC plans, and how much have they saved in them? (2) How much are workers likely to have saved in DC plans over their careers and to what degree do key individual decisions and plan features affect plan saving? (3) What options have been recently proposed to increase DC plan coverage, participation, and savings? GAO analyzed data from the Federal Reserve Board's 2004 Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF), the latest available, utilized a computer simulation model to project DC plan balances at retirement, reviewed academic studies, and interviewed experts."
Date: November 29, 2007
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Federally Chartered Corporation: Review of the Financial Statement Audit Report for the Vietnam Veterans of America, Inc., for Fiscal Year 2000

Description: Correspondence issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "GAO reviewed the audit report covering the financial statements of the Vietnam Veterans of America, Inc., for fiscal year 2000. GAO found no reportable instances of noncompliance. The audit report included the auditors' opinions that the financial statements of the corporation were presented fairly in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles."
Date: August 21, 2001
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Surface Transportation: Restructured Federal Approach Needed for More Focused, Performance-Based, and Sustainable Programs

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Surface transportation programs need to be reexamined in the context of the nation's current unsustainable fiscal path. Surface transportation programs are particularly ready for review as the Highway Trust Fund faces a fiscal imbalance at a time when both congestion and travel demand are growing. As you requested, this report (1) provides an overview of the federal role in surface transportation and the goals and structures of federal programs, (2) summarizes GAO's conclusions about the structure and performance of these programs, and (3) provides principles to assess options for focusing future surface transportation programs. GAO's study is based on prior GAO reports, stakeholder reports and interviews, Department of Transportation documents, and the views of transportation experts."
Date: March 6, 2008
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Department of Homeland Security: Efforts to Assess Realignment of Its Field Office Structure

Description: Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "DHS reported taking some steps to assess the realignment of its regional/field office structure. Since submitting an initial plan to Congress in 2004 that outlined regionalization, consolidation, and colocation opportunities, DHS officials said the agency considered the potential implementation of a unified regional field office structure through two major initiatives--the 2004 I-Staff review and the department's 2010 BUR. However, the I-Staff Regional Concept of Operations was not finalized or adopted, and in April 2012 a senior DHS official involved in the BUR effort stated that DHS no longer intends to implement the BUR recommendation related to regionalization because it is no longer the department's preferred approach. DHS had limited or no documentation related to either of these reviews, including the resulting key decisions from the efforts. As a result, we are unable to determine the extent to which DHS has fully considered the realignment of its regional/field office structure, including costs and benefits, since 2004. Standards for Internal Control in the Federal Government calls for clear documentation of significant events, which include assumptions and methods surrounding key decisions, and the standards also state that this documentation should be readily available for examination. DHS officials acknowledged the lack of documentation and plan to better document any future realignment efforts. DHS and component officials stated that operational and current budgetary constraints were key challenges to establishing a single DHS regional/field office structure, but they are exploring smaller-scale alternatives."
Date: September 28, 2012
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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DOD Financial Management: Actions Needed to Address Deficiencies in Controls over Army Active Duty Military Payroll

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "GAO identified deficiencies in the design of key control procedures relied on by the Army and the Defense Finance and Accounting Service-Indianapolis (DFAS-IN) to detect errors in payroll disbursements to active duty Army military personnel. Specifically, GAO found that the Army's procedures for reviewing Unit Commander Finance Reports (UCFR) do not (1) provide for monitoring of required UCFR reviews to better assure detection of payroll errors, (2) require reporting on completed UCFR reviews in all cases, and (3) clearly establish time frames for completing and reporting on UCFR reviews. GAO's analysis of DFAS data on military pay debts and Army investigations of potential fraud completed over the past 2 years identified numerous instances of the effect of errors or irregularities in Army active duty payroll disbursements that went undetected for lengthy periods of time, including some that were not detected for up to 2 years or until the soldier left the Army. For example:"
Date: December 12, 2012
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Chemical Regulation: Options Exist to Improve EPA's Ability to Assess Health Risks and Manage Its Chemical Review Program

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Chemicals play an important role in everyday life, but some may be harmful to human health and the environment. Chemicals are used to produce items widely used throughout society, including consumer products such as cleansers, paints, plastics, and fuels, as well as industrial solvents and additives. However, some chemicals, such as lead and mercury, are highly toxic at certain doses and need to be regulated because of health and safety concerns. In 1976, the Congress passed the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to authorize the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to control chemicals that pose an unreasonable risk to human health or the environment. GAO reviewed EPA's efforts to (1) control the risks of new chemicals not yet in commerce, (2) assess the risks of existing chemicals used in commerce, and (3) publicly disclose information provided by chemical companies under TSCA."
Date: June 13, 2005
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Drug-Free Communities Support Program: Stronger Internal Controls and Other Actions Needed to Better Manage the Grant-Making Process

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Twenty-five percent of American students ages 13-17 reported using illicit drugs in 2007. The Drug-Free Communities Support Program provides grants to community coalitions involved in reducing youth substance abuse. The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) administers the program. ONDCP selected the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to operate the grant program in fiscal year 2005. In 2005, ONDCP did not award grants to some coalitions who had previously received grant funds (renewal grantees). GAO was asked to assess (1) the extent to which ONDCP and SAMHSA administered grant-related activities for fiscal years 2005 and 2006 consistent with federal internal control standards, statutory requirements, and other guidance and (2) the steps ONDCP has taken since 2006 regarding its administration of grant-related activities. GAO analyzed and compared program documents and grant activities to established guidance, such as federal internal control standards and statutory requirements, and interviewed key program management officials."
Date: July 31, 2008
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Department of Energy: Additional Opportunities Exist for Reducing Laboratory Contractors' Support Costs

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "In fiscal year 2004, about two-thirds of the Department of Energy's (DOE) $26.9 billion in spending went to 28 major facilities--laboratories, production and test facilities, and nuclear waste cleanup and storage facilities. DOE spent about $2.9 billion in fiscal year 2004 to support the mission of its five largest laboratories. GAO was asked to examine (1) recent trends in indirect and functional support cost rates for these five laboratories, noting key differences in how contractors classify costs, and (2) the efforts of DOE and its contractors to reduce indirect and other support costs and identify additional opportunities for savings."
Date: September 9, 2005
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Operation Iraqi Freedom: Long-standing Problems Hampering Mail Delivery Need to Be Resolved

Description: A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Mail is a morale booster for troops fighting overseas and for their families at home. More than 65 million pounds of letters and parcels were delivered to troops serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 and problems with prompt and reliable mail delivery surfaced early in the conflict. Congress and the White House forwarded more than 300 inquiries about mail delivery problems to military postal officials. GAO was directed to review mail delivery to troops stationed in the Middle East. In this report, GAO assesses (1) the timeliness of mail delivery to and from troops in Operation Iraqi Freedom, (2) how mail delivery issues and problems during this operation compared with those experienced during Operations Desert Shield/Storm in 1991, and (3) efforts to identify actions to resolve problems in establishing mail operations for future contingencies."
Date: April 14, 2004
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Contract Management: The Air Force Should Improve How It Purchases AWACS Spare Parts

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Over the past several years, the Air Force has negotiated and awarded more than $23 million in contracts to the Boeing Corporation for the purchase of certain spare parts for its Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft. Since they first became operational in March 1977, AWACS aircraft have provided U.S. and allied defense forces with the ability to detect, identify, and track airborne threats. In March 2003, GAO received allegations that the Air Force was overpaying Boeing for AWACS spare parts. This report provides the findings of GAO's review into these allegations. Specifically, GAO identified spare parts price increases and determined whether the Air Force obtained and evaluated sufficient information to ensure the prices were fair and reasonable. GAO also determined the extent to which competition was used to purchase the spare parts."
Date: February 15, 2005
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Estimated Adjusted Medicaid Funding Allocations Related to the Proposed American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

Description: Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Congress asked GAO to estimate the state allocations that would likely occur if an across-the-board percentage point increase in the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) replaced Section 5001 of the proposed American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, while maintaining the same funding level that the Congressional Budget Office estimated for this section. This correspondence responds to your request for state-by-state, quarter-by-quarter estimates of the Medicaid funding states would receive with such an across-the-board increase."
Date: February 5, 2009
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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National Park Service: Status of Efforts to Develop Better Deferred Maintenance Data

Description: Correspondence issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Beginning in the 1980s, the National Park Service spent $11 million to develop and implement a maintenance management system. The system was eventually terminated because it failed to provide park managers with all the information they needed to manage their deferred maintenance workload. In 1998, the Park Service started a new asset management process to provide a systematic method for documenting deferred maintenance needs and tracking progress in reducing the amount of deferred maintenance. GAO found that the Park Service has made progress in developing a new asset management process. When finally implemented, the process should provide the agency with a (1) reliable inventory of its assets; (2) process for reporting on the condition of each asset; and (3) systemwide methodology for estimating deferred maintenance costs for each asset. Although the new process is promising, its success cannot be determined until staff in each of the park units are trained and the new asset management process is fully and properly implemented."
Date: April 12, 2002
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Information Security: Agencies Need to Implement Federal Desktop Core Configuration Requirements

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The increase in security incidents and continuing weakness in security controls on information technology systems at federal agencies highlight the continuing need for improved information security. To standardize and strengthen agencies' security, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), in collaboration with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), launched the Federal Desktop Core Configuration (FDCC) initiative in 2007. GAO was asked to (1) identify the goals, objectives, and requirements of the initiative; (2) determine the status of actions federal agencies have taken, or plan to take, to implement the initiative; and (3) identify the benefits, challenges, and lessons learned in implementing this initiative. To accomplish this, GAO reviewed policies, plans, and other documents at the 24 major executive branch agencies; reviewed OMB and NIST guidance and documentation; and interviewed officials."
Date: March 12, 2010
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Protection of Chemical and Water Infrastructure: Federal Requirements, Actions of Selected Facilities, and Remaining Challenges

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The National Strategy for Homeland Security grouped critical infrastructure into 13 sectors which include assets that if attacked by terrorists could have a debilitating impact on the nation. Two of these 13 sectors are the chemical and water sectors. The total number of chemical sector facilities is not clear. DHS estimates that there are 4,000 chemical manufacturing facilities that produce, use, or store more than threshold amounts of chemicals that EPA has estimated pose the greatest risk to human health and the environment. There are approximately 53,000 community water systems and more than 2,900 maritime facilities that are required to comply with security regulations under the Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA). This report provides information about what federal requirements exist for the chemical and water sectors to secure their facilities, what federal efforts were taken by the lead agencies for these sectors to facilitate sectors' actions, what actions selected facilities within these sectors have taken and whether they reflect a risk management approach, what obstacles they say they faced in implementing enhancements, and what are the Coast Guard's results from its inspection of regulated maritime facilities' security enhancements."
Date: March 28, 2005
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Yucca Mountain: Quality Assurance at DOE's Planned Nuclear Waste Repository Needs Increased Management Attention

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Department of Energy (DOE) is working to obtain a license from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to construct a nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain in Nevada. The project, which began in the 1980s, has been beset by delays. In a 2004 report, GAO raised concerns that persistent quality assurance problems could further delay the project. Then, in 2005, DOE announced the discovery of employee e-mails suggesting quality assurance problems, including possible falsification of records. Quality assurance, which establishes requirements for work to be performed under controlled conditions that ensure quality, is critical to making sure the project meets standards for protecting public health and the environment. GAO was asked to examine (1) the history of the project's quality assurance problems, (2) DOE's tracking of these problems and efforts to address them since GAO's 2004 report, and (3) challenges facing DOE as it continues to address quality assurance issues within the project."
Date: March 17, 2006
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Child Welfare: States Use Flexible Federal Funds, But Struggle to Meet Service Needs

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The four states GAO selected used funds provided under Title IV-B of the Social Security Act for a variety of child welfare services and other activities, and had different strategies for spending these funds. For instance, in fiscal year 2011 Virginia provided funding to all local child welfare agencies to spend on their own priorities, such as parenting classes. New Mexico targeted certain counties for services, such as intensive in-home services for families at risk of foster care."
Date: January 30, 2013
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Equal Employment Opportunity: DHS Has Opportunities to Better Identify and Address Barriers to EEO in Its Workforce

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "DHS has generally relied on workforce data and has not regularly included employee input from available sources to identify "triggers," the term EEOC uses for indicators of potential barriers. GAO's analysis of DHS's MD-715 reports showed that DHS generally relied on workforce data to identify 13 of 15 triggers, such as promotion and separation rates. According to EEOC, in addition to workforce data, agencies are to regularly consult a variety of sources, such as exit interviews, employee groups, and employee surveys, to identify triggers. Involving employees helps to incorporate insights about operations from a frontline perspective in determining where potential barriers exist. DHS does not consider employee input from such sources as employee groups, exit interviews, and employee surveys in conducting its MD-715 analysis. Data from the governmentwide employee survey and DHS's internal employee survey are available, but DHS does not use these data to identify triggers. By not considering employee input on DHS personnel policies and practices, DHS is missing opportunities to identify potential barriers. Once a trigger is revealed, agencies are to investigate and pinpoint actual barriers and their causes. In 2007, through its departmentwide barrier analysis, DHS identified four barriers: (1) overreliance on the Internet to recruit applicants, (2) overreliance on noncompetitive hiring authorities, (3) lack of recruitment initiatives that were directed at Hispanics in several components, and (4) nondiverse interview panels. GAO's analysis of DHS's 2007 and 2008 MD-715 reports showed that DHS has articulated planned activities to address identified barriers, has modified nearly all of its original target completion dates by a range of 12 to 21 months, and has not completed any planned activities; although officials reported completing other activities in fiscal year 2007 and 2008 associated with its EEO …
Date: August 31, 2009
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Rental Housing Assistance: HUD Data on Self-Sufficiency Programs Should Be Improved

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funds five key grant programs that encourage resident self-sufficiency. In fiscal year 2011, HUD awarded $113 million to the Housing Choice Voucher Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS), Public Housing FSS, and Resident Opportunity and Self-Sufficiency Service Coordinators (ROSS SC) programs. Public housing agencies (PHA) with HOPE VI grants or designated as Moving to Work (MTW) agencies spent a portion of their funds on activities that encourage self-sufficiency, but the amounts MTW agencies spent are not known for the program as a whole. Additionally, data on resident participation in the five programs were limited. The number of families that participated in the FSS programs and ROSS SC cannot be reliably assessed due to missing start dates, end dates, and annual updates, and a lack of reporting guidance. HOPE VI data on residents' participation does not include information on the elderly or persons with disabilities. Programwide MTW data on participation generally were unavailable. Internal control standards for the federal government state that program managers need operational data to determine whether they are meeting goals for accountability (effective and efficient use of resources). Without complete participation data, HUD lacks key information to effectively manage and evaluate its programs and Congress lacks data needed to oversee the programs."
Date: July 9, 2013
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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