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Homelessness: Barriers to Using Mainstream Programs
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The expert panel we convened discussed a variety of strategies the federal government could pursue to improve homeless people’s access to, and use of, mainstream federal programs. These included (1) improving the integration and coordination of federal programs, (2) making the process of applying for federal assistance easier, (3) improving outreach to homeless people, (4) ensuring an appropriate system of incentives for serving homeless people, and (5) holding mainstream programs more accountable for serving homeless people. Most of these issues are not new, and federal agencies have tried to address them for years with varied degrees of success. At the same time, however, panel members noted that federal agencies could do more to incorporate into mainstream programs the various lessons learned from McKinney Act programs and demonstration projects targeted to homeless people. These demonstration projects have developed effective approaches to serving homeless people in such areas as mental health, substance abuse treatment, primary health care, housing, and job training. (GAO)
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A program of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Mental Health Services