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While we do not track recoveries resulting from closeout separately from other recoveries such as those resulting from audit findings, program reviews, and other monitoring activities, FSA has been able to determine that in the last 12 months, about 125 community services discretionary grants have been closed, with over $2.5 million of Federal funds recovered.
Question. How has discretionary grant monitoring been strengthened? Are financial and progress reports being received timely and evaluated? Are on-site reviews conducted timely and are appropriate actions taken on problems disclosed?
Answer. A computerized grantee data base system has been developed which facilitates, among other things, tracking receipt of program and financial reports; accounting for the purchase of such assets as equipment and property; and the review of accomplishments reported by grantees and documentation of on-site visits including problems identified, actions recommended, and actions taken; and the production of delinquency letters related to program and financial reports. The system also provides program and financial managers with the ability to monitor and assure the currency of the data, including the receipt and analysis of reports, and the actions taken to address problems. In addition, funds for on-site monitoring have been increased by 24 percent which will assure that approximately 64 percent of the FY. 1990 grantees are monitored on site.
Question. What actions have been taken to assure free and open competition for discretionary grants? In FY 1990 how many awards were made on an "urgent" basis outside of the regular awarding process? How many dollars were involved? How do these statistics compare to those of the prior 2 fiscal years?
Answer. We have reconsidered the approaches previously enunciated in our discretionary grants program announcements and are updating standing announcements. We are also reviewing procedures related to the specifications of annual announcements. expected that when discretionary grant announcements define the potential for multi-year projects, instead of shorter-term projects, applications from organizations which would not have been interested in responding for one-year projects because of the start-up costs will be stimulated.
Out of a total of over 300 discretionary grants issued in FY 1990, only seven grants were awarded on an unsolicited basis, none of which was defined as urgent. In FY 1989, four unsolicited grants were awarded, none of which was defined as urgent. In FY 1988, four unsolicited grants were awarded, two of which were defined as urgent. The total dollar amount for these two urgent grants was $475,000, including $136,000 funded out of FY 1989 appropriations. Over 230 discretionary grants were issued in FY 1989 and more than 210 in FY 1988.
Question. How may discretionary grants received no-cost extensions in FY 1990 and how does this compare to the prior 2 fiscal years?
Answer. In FY 1990, FSA approved about 140 no-cost grant extension actions against the pool of all prior-year, active grants. In programs like Urban and Rural Economic Development, numerous grantees receive no-cost extensions because of the impact of any local-level delay on a work program which requires the purchase of property, contracting, and permits.
In FY 1988, FSA executed about 105 no cost grant actions. Data are not available for FY 1989, but we believe that the number of actions would have been relatively constant at about 100 per year.
Question. Has a grants administration manual, approved by the HHS grants management office, been developed and distributed to discretionary grants program staff? Has training been conducted?
Answer. FSA's recently augmented staff in the discretionary Grants and Contract Review Branch has been focused primarily on such urgent activities as negotiating and awarding current grants and issuing grant announcements and guidelines. While an FSA grants administration manual has not yet been developed, we have begun developing policy memos on the most critical topics this year, which will be released following in-house review and clearance by the HHS office of Acquisition and Grants Management. We have met with staff of two program offices to discuss initiating the application of several areas of policy as they develop and will continue to do so as relevant issues arise. In addition, in FY 1991 FSA contracted with the Public Health Service to conduct training for program and financial management staff in many aspects of grants administration.
DEMONSTRATION PARTNERSHIP PROGRAM
Last year this Committee provided nearly $1 million of Demonstration Partnership Funds for programs directed to special populations. Ongoing efforts in Milwaukee, Boston, Fresno, Philadelphia and Des Moines were brought to the attention of the Department so that the programs in these cities would receive strong consideration for funding under this new program.
Question. What is the status of these funds?
Answer. It should be noted that the FY 1991 appropriations did not include funds targeted directly to special populations. However, FSA plans that the FY 1991 Program Announcement covering the Demonstration Partnership Program will include a specific set-aside of funds for projects directed to special populations. All applications submitted under this category will be evaluated competitively and highly ranked applications will be considered for funding.
COMMUNITY SERVICES DISCRETIONARY GRANTS
The Secretary made his last report to the Congress on CSBG Discretionary program in June 1989. That report indicated that grants made with FY 1988 discretionary funds had led to real achievements which improve the quality of life for poor people including, creating business and job opportunities for low income people and attracting investment to poor communities, improving housing and community facilities in rural areas.
Question. Why doesn't the report mention the accomplishments of the National Youth Sports Program?
Answer. Accomplishments of the National Youth Sports Program were included in the report to the Congress covering grants made in FY 1987 and will be included in the report covering those made in FY 1989. Accomplishments for this program were omitted inadvertently in the report covering grants made in FY 1988.
Question. With such a record of accomplishment, what is the rationale for terminating programs for community economic development, rural housing and community facilities assistance?
Answer. Funding from other sources is available to continue these programs. Local organizations that historically have received
funds under these discretionary programs have been successful in obtaining funding for these programs from such other sources such as Job Training Partnership Act (Labor), Farmer Home Administration (Agriculture), Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Indian Health Service, State and local units of government, bond issues, and the Appalachian Regional Commission.
Question. The Inspector General has been critical of the monitoring and administration of the discretionary programs. What steps have you taken to increase staff and administrative support to the discretionary programs?
Answer. Since September of FY 1990, five professional staff have been recruited for the FSA discretionary Grants and Contact Review Branch, bringing the staff to its ceiling of eight grants management specialists. In addition, on-site monitoring of grantees has been given renewed emphasis and resources. Our FY 1992 request for the Program Administration account requests additional resources to help correct these deficiencies, as well as to administer recently enacted programs. Funds for on-site monitoring have been increased by 24 percent over those expended in FY 1990. An additional program chief has been assigned to manage several of the discretionary grants programs.
Question. The 101st Congress appropriated over $41 million in FY91 funding and authorized $50 million for FY92 for the McKinney Emergency Community Services for the Homeless program. Why has the Administration requested no funding for this program in its FY92 budget request?
Answer. The Emergency Community Services Homeless Grant Program allocates funds by formula to states and Indian tribes. Distributed primarily to community action agencies and migrant farm worker organizations, fund, are generally used to augment other community efforts to provide outreach, emergency shelter, comprehensive services, and to promote private-sector assistance to the homeless population. Up to 25 percent of the funds may be used to prevent at risk people from being evicted from their homes.
Such services, however, are already funded under numerous other service authorities including the Social Services Block Grant program, the Community Development Block Grant program, the AFDC/Emergency Assistance program and most of the other McKinney Homeless Assistance Act programs, particularly, the Emergency shelter Grant program at HUD and the Emergency Food and shelter program at FEMA.
In FY 1992, no funding is requested for this program. Instead, additional funds are requested in Public Health Service to 1) expand primary health care services to the homeless population, 2) expand services for the hardest to reach homeless people; those with cooccurring mental health and substance abuse problems, and 3) create a consolidated demonstration program for innovative delivery of comprehensive services to homeless individuals and families.
Question. Emergency Community Services for the Homeless program is currently the major McKinney Homeless Assistance program that includes homeless prevention activities such as mediation for landlord-tenant disputes and short term payments to prevent evictions. Do you agree that these targeted services to prevent homelessness are needed?
Answer. Authority for targeted services to prevent homelessness are certainly needed. Fortunately there are numerous
other Federal programs that are used for this purpose. In addition, to the Emergency Community Services Homeless Grant Program (EHP), and the Emergency shelter Grant (ESG) program, the Emergency Food and Shelter program, AFDC Special Needs Allowances, and Social Services Block Grant funds can be and are used to prevent evictions.
Question. The 101st Congress authorized $55 million for a new McKinney Act demonstration program for homelessness prevention-family support centers at or near public housing. Why has the Administration not requested funding for this programi
Answer. The Department has ample authority and ongoing support for family support projects. In addition to the Comprehensive child Development Centers program for which $25 million will be spent in FY 1991, the Head Start Program also funds several family support center demonstrations to provide support services for parents of low income children enrolled in Head Start. Under a Memorandum of Understanding signed between Secretary Sullivan and Secretary Kemp in 1990, a HHS and HUD working group is planning a competition in FY 1991 for up to 10 projects that integrate services for low income families in public housing.
Local providers frequently express frustration at having assistance for these populations fragmented in a manner that requires multiple applications to piece together comprehensive services. Funding another program in this area would in our opinion add to that frustration.
Question. Congress also authorized a new McKinney Act demonstration program for preventive services targeted to children of homeless families or families at risk of homelessness. Why has the Administration not requested funding for this program?
Answer. There are many existing authorities that support prevention services to children of homeless families or families at risk of homelessness. In addition to Family Support Center type services described above, the Department administers a range of family crisis programs that target at risk children and their families to prevent abuse, neglect, inappropriate out-of-home placements and to foster reunification of children with their families. Funding for these programs listed below has increased from $75 million in FY 1989 to a FY 1992 request level of $115 million. Figures shown are the Administration's FY 1992 request in millions.
Child Abuse State Grants ($19.5)
Transitional Living Program ($9.99
Drug Educational Prevention for Runaway and Homeless Youth
Emergency Child Abuse Prevention Services Grants Substance
Question. Does the Family Support Administration propose to play any role in preventing homelessness and meeting the special needs of homeless families?
Answer. In terms of preventing homelessness, the family Support Administration operates a range of assistance programs that maintain families and children in their homes and in their communities. The title IV-A programs include basic financial support and, In the event of emergencies, there are supplemental resources that may be used. In FY 1992, the AFDC and Emergency Assistance programs will provide an estimated $247.6 million in temporary shelter and housing assistance to families who otherwise would be homeless. The recent implementation of the Family Support Act and the JOBS program provide additional services and support that are intended to achieve self-sufficiency for these needy families. These programs demonstrate explicitly our intentions and plans to prevent homelessness.
Insofar as "meeting the special needs of homeless familles," after emergency shelter is secured for the family, it is critical to provide the financial and economic lifelines to stabilize the familles in need. The agency continues to provide encouragement for demonstration and leading edge programs that promote community responses to the conditions that lead to homelessness through the mobilization of diverse sectors and resources.
Question. How are States currently aiding homeless families? With title IV-A funds?
Answer. States are using title IV-A funds to assist the homeless in a number of ways. First, the Aid to Families with Dependent children (AFDC) program does not have a residency requirement. Homeless families who apply for and meet the eligibility requirements are entitled to AFDC money payments and Medicaid benefits.
For the AFDC eligible homeless, States also meet a variety of their needs through optional "special needs." Included are items
special clothing or clothing replacement, expenses caused by catastrophe or eviction, excess cost of shelter, fuel, or utilities, repair of property, household furnishings, and moving and storage expenses.
For example, New York provides an AFDC "special need" to cover costs of Tier i and Tier II shelters. These shelters provide transitional living accommodations. Tier I shelters have large open sleeping areas and are intended for short stays; Tier II shelters have private sleeping quarters and are used for more extended stays. Both types of shelters provide social services such as child care, recreation, and health screening.
Second, through the Emergency Assistance program, an optional complement to the AFDC program, many States provide temporary financial assistance and services to families experiencing an emergency.
Federal matching at a 50% rate is available for emergency assistance that the State authorizes during a maximum of one period of 30 consecutive days in any 12 consecutive months.