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New Report: The Criminalization of Food-Sharing Practices

November 19, 2014 Comments off

New Report: The Criminalization of Food-Sharing Practices
Source: National Coalition for the Homeless

On Tuesday, October 21, Fort Lauderdale Commissioners will vote on a proposed ordinance that will severely limit the capabilities of groups to distribute food to people experiencing homelessness. According to our research, over 30 American cities that have tried to introduce similar legislation in the past two years.

The new report, Share No More: The Criminalization of Efforts to Feed People In Need, documents the recent known cases of food-sharing restrictions throughout the country. Since January 2013, 21 cities have successfully restricted the practice of sharing food with people who are experiencing homelessness while at least ten others have introduced ordinances that are pending approval.

These restrictions primarily come about in three different forms; the first is by restricting the use of public property. In this scenario, individuals and organizations are generally required to obtain a permit, often for a fee, to share food in a park or in another public space. 12 cities have recently passed legislation that imposes this type of restriction.

The second type of legislative restriction is to require groups to comply with city/county/state food-safety regulations. Since January 2013, four cities have passed legislation that required individuals and organizations to comply with their food-safety regulations when sharing food with people experiencing homelessness.

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America’s Youngest Outcasts

November 19, 2014 Comments off

America’s Youngest Outcasts
Source: National Center on Family Homelessness

America’s Youngest Outcasts documents the number of homeless children in every state, their well-being, their risk for child homelessness, and state level planning and policy efforts. Using findings from numerous sources that include well-established national data sets as well as our own research, we rank the states in four domains, and then develop a composite of these domains to rank the states from 1 (best) to 50 (worst). A page about the District of Columbia is also available.

Education for Homeless Children and Youth: Consolidated State Performance Report Data — School Years 2010-11, 2011-12, and 2012-13

September 30, 2014 Comments off

Education for Homeless Children and Youth: Consolidated State Performance Report Data — School Years 2010-11, 2011-12, and 2012-13 (PDF)
Source: National Center for Homeless Education (U.S. Department of Education)

This September 2014 report provides a summary of the 2012-2013 state data collection required by the U.S. Department of Education of the McKinney-Vento Education for Homeless Children and Youth (EHCY) Program. The 2012-2013 data also are presented in comparison to the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 data collections, as applicable.

Report to Congress on the Runaway and Homeless Youth Program Published

September 17, 2014 Comments off

Report to Congress on the Runaway and Homeless Youth Program Published
Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (Family & Youth Services Bureau)

The Family & Youth Services Bureau is pleased to announce the release of the Report to Congress on the Runaway and Homeless Youth Program for fiscal years 2012 and 2013.

The report documents FYSB’s commitment to the national goal of ending youth homelessness by 2020. For 40 years, the Bureau has worked closely with its non-profit partners across the country to make sure young people have somewhere to turn when their homes no longer offer safety or support.

In FY 2012 and 2013:

  • Each Street Outreach Program grantee got an average of 151 youth off the streets and into shelter for at least one night.
  • Each Basic Center Program grantee provided emergency care and counseling to an average of 114 youth.
  • Each Transitional Living Program grantee provided intensive, long-term support to an average of 18 transition-aged young people.
  • The National Runaway Safeline handled an average of more than 263 calls a day from youth, parents, and allies.

Homeless LGBTQ Youth

September 12, 2014 Comments off

Homeless LGBTQ Youth
Source: Urban Institute

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, or Questioning (LGBTQ) youth are over-represented among the homeless youth population. Researchers and practitioners are working to improve data on homeless youth, especially LGBTQ youth, across the country. This brief summarizes the findings on LGBTQ homeless youth counted during the 2013 YouthCount!, a federal interagency initiative that aims to improve counts of unaccompanied homeless youth. The brief also shares best practices on how to improve counts of LGBTQ homeless youth, and areas where policymakers can act to improve LGBTQ youth outcomes.

New From the GAO

August 25, 2014 Comments off

New GAO Reports
Source: Government Accountability Office

1. Education of Homeless Students: Improved Program Oversight Needed. GAO-14-465, July 31.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-465
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/665184.pdf
Podcast – http://www.gao.gov/multimedia/podcasts/665378

2. Federal Real Property: GSA Should Better Target Its Use of Swap-Construct Exchanges. GAO-14-586, July 24.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-586
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/665027.pdf

3. Regulatory Impact Analysis: Development of Social Cost of Carbon Estimates. GAO-14-663, July 24.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-663
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/665015.pdf

Audit of VHA’s Supportive Services for Veteran Families Program

April 2, 2014 Comments off

Audit of VHA’s Supportive Services for Veteran Families Program (PDF)
Source: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Inspector General

At the request of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, Subcommittee on Health, we conducted this audit to determine if the Veterans Health Administration’s (VHA) Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program grantees appropriately expended program funds. In December 2010, VA established the SSVF program to rapidly re-house homeless veteran families and prevent homelessness for those at imminent risk due to a housing crisis. For fiscal years (FYs) 2012 and 2013, the VHA awarded about $60 million and $100 million in SSVF grants, respectively, and has increased awards to nearly $300 million for FY 2014. We found that VHA’s SSVF program has adequate financial controls in place that are working as intended to provide reasonable assurance that funds are appropriately expended by grantees. We determined program staff were reviewing grantee timecards, invoices for temporary financial assistance, subcontractor costs, and conducted annual inspections. However, SSVF program officials can improve controls to ensure only eligible veterans and their family members participate in the program. We found three of five grantees used outdated area median income (AMI) limits to determine eligibility for the program. In addition, four of five grantees did not verify veterans’ discharge status with the required “Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty” (DD 214). This occurred because some grantees were not aware when new AMI limits were published. To avoid delaying program participation, grantees did not always follow up to ensure receipt of the required DD 214 when an interim eligibility document was used. As a result, VHA risks providing SSVF services to ineligible veterans or excluding eligible veterans from the program. We recommended the Under Secretary for Health ensure SSVF program management implements a mechanism to inform grantees when the most current AMI limits are published and ensure grantees comply with eligibility documentation requirements. The Under Secretary for Health concurred with our recommendations and provided an appropriate action plan. We consider the SSVF program actions sufficient and closed the recommendations as completed.

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