Good Essay About Emergency Issues: Homeless Assistance

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Homelessness, Housing, Government, Finance, People, Venture Capital, Development, Banking

Pages: 2

Words: 550

Published: 2020/12/15

According to the US constitution, homelessness is a situation whereby an individual lacks housing regardless whether he or she is a member of a family or not. Included in this homelessness group are those people whose primary residences are under supervisions, as both public or private facilities, and those who are living in temporary or transitional accommodations. These homeless people may live in temporary places like streets, mission shelters, single rooms, abandoned vehicles and buildings or any other unstable places. It is reported in The State of Homelessness in America 2014, that in a single night, averagely, about 610,042 individuals in America are experiencing homelessness. The Federal government has laid down several programs to end the state of homeless; one of them is the Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG) (Castro n. pag).
The CDBG program is funded by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), with a primary objective of providing decent and suitable living housing, and economic opportunities that are principally directed to those with low or moderate incomes. Although the CDBG was enacted in 1974 by President Gerald Ford, in the Housing and Community Development Act (1974), currently, the homeless assistance program functions under the Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing (HEARTH) Act of 2009. In the 2009 Act, to issue grants, the HUD determine grant levels by using formulas that consider several factors like extent of poverty, population, age of housing, housing overcrowding and population growth lag in relation to each urban area(Castro n. pag).
The CDBG program funds local organisations to rehouse homeless individuals quickly in their neighbourhood to minimise their trauma caused by dislocation. It also supports the rural counties with a population of 5,000 people or less. One of the stakeholders of the CDBG organisation has been the House, especially, as represented by the House Financial Services Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee that is supposed to monitor its performance to reduce fraud, waste and abuse. Secondly, the public, especially members that are homeless also require its service. Other important stakeholders have been organisation grantees, authorities of major cities, counties and local governments, researchers, government auditors and other organisations with programs of similar objectives like the Urban Development Action Grants (UDAG) (Castro n. pag).
Although official data for the 2014 cases of homelessness have not been released, it is considered that, during that year, the HUD spent about $2.1 B for the CBGD programs. As from 2009, when the Act was passed, the number of homeless people has been decreasing significantly. From 2012 to 2013, the overall number of people experiencing homelessness fell by 3.7%. This decrease was represented in every major subpopulation in the country. The usages of permanent support housing beds, emergency shelters and transitional housing increased by 3.5%, 4% and 6%, respectively. For the first time, authorities differentiated between rapid-rehousing from transitional housing, with a baseline of 19, 847 units being recorded. The usage of national emergency shelter also rose steadily to nearly 100% between the period 2007 and 2013 (National Alliance to End Homelessness 1-20).
Evaluating the performance of this program has been very difficult taking into account that, it undertakes diverse activities, and the government does not give targets on how certain funds should be used in certain geographical areas. Moreover, since cities are broad it can be hard to link some improvements in life to the CDBG investments. Although the CDBG’s eligibility has been seen as generally positive, it has been criticised in the approach it takes. It takes a top-down approach despite having been constructed to take a bottom-up approach, because they are the Federal planners that dictate where and how funds should be used. This may encourage federal politics to find ways into local governances. By this approach, it may induce wastage, fraud and abuse of funds because local people will not be interested to examine the projects to find out if they are beneficial. Therefore, it is important that the CDBG takes a bottom-up approach to be more efficient and effective in the use of funds. This will ensure that local projects are not caught up with federal politics. Moreover, since the locals will be involved in projects that concern their neighbourhood, they will ensure that funds are used effectively and efficiently (DeHaven n. pag; US Congress n. pag).

Works Cited

Castro, Julian. Homelessness Assistance. US Department of Housing and Urban
Development, 2015. Web. 2015, <http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/program_offices/comm_planning/homeless>
DeHaven, Tad. Community Development. Downsizing the Federal Government. CATO
US Congress. Subcommittee Examines Waste, Fraud, Abuse in HUD Spending Programs.
Washington: The Committee on Financial Services, 2013. Web. 2015, <http://financialservices.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=348879>
National Alliance to End Homelessness. The State of Homelessness in America 2014.
Washington: Homeless Research Institute, 2014. Print.

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