Late Breaking News
Programs Paid to Provide Housing and Services to Homeless Veterans Falling Short of Mission Cont
When VA staffers later visited provider facilities, they often overlooked conditions and failed to identify potential risks to residents.
While the grant requires the GPD provider to be able to serve meals to meet nutritional requirements of the veterans housed there, there is no requirement in the application that they show how they will provide those meals or prove their ability to do so.
Blame also falls on the benefits side of VA, the report states. An important step in veterans completing the GPD program is that VBA help them transition from temporary housing to permanent, independent living. According to IG, four of nine VBA regional offices did not consistently provide outreach services to homeless veterans.
At a recent Senate VA Committee hearing, Linda Holliday, VA’s deputy assistant IG for audits and evaluations, said that, without better oversight and coordination, VA cannot ensure its GPD program will succeed.
“We believe VA does not have the type of information it needs to really assess where it needs these services,” Halliday said. “Grants are prepared, applications are submitted, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that all the areas that need services are getting services.”
Halliday suggested VA should look outside their existing model. “It’s going to come down to coordination between programs,” she said. “They need to get the Office of Rural Health to work with homeless programs in VA. And it means getting the tribal governments to work with homeless programs.”
As to whether this lack of oversight and coordination is systemic to VA, Halliday could not say.
“At this point, we looked at the GPD and identified the problems,” she said, “but you have to have a needs assessment to know what’s needed.”
Without that kind of comprehensive assessment, VA has no way of knowing if its money is being well spent.