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94 Federal Properties Approved for Use by Homeless

United Press International

The Department of Housing and Urban Development has approved 94 federal properties nationwide as suitable for use as shelters or soup kitchens for the homeless.

Acting under a court order based on the McKinney Homeless Assistance Act--which makes unused or underused federal properties available to shelter the homelesss--HUD sent a list of the 44 buildings and 50 land sites to the General Services Administration on Wednesday. It includes eight sites in California.

The GSA now will oversee a process by which local governments and homeless groups can apply to lease the individual properties for as little as $1 a year plus operating expenses, HUD officials said.

HUD reviewed 220 of the 335 properties in the GSA’s inventory and determined that 126 were unsuitable for use by the homeless.

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Only two federally owned sites in the country currently accommodate homeless people.

To be determined suitable, a building must have a structurally sound foundation, floor, roof, exterior and interior walls and electric power. If it is an occupancy facility, it must also have operating sanitary facilities, drinkable water and adequate heating, said James E. Schoenberger, HUD’s general deputy assistant for housing.

Land deemed suitable must be accessible by road or be made accessible at a reasonable cost, Schoenberger said.

HUD’s action is the result of a Dec. 14 order issued by U.S. District Judge Oliver Gasch that the agency review at least half of the federal properties by Dec. 28.

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HUD will determine the suitability of 115 additional properties by Jan. 12, Schoenberger said.


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