Coburn blames law to help homeless for slowing sales of federal property

Coburn blames law for slowing sales of federal property. At a Senate hearing, homeless advocate says law isn't the main problem.
BY CHRIS CASTEEL ccasteel@opubco.com Published: June 10, 2011
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Foscarinis testified that any plan to hasten the disposal of federal properties should preserve Title V, the law that allows homeless agencies to apply for the buildings. She acknowledged that the process can take months but said it could be streamlined, and that Title V was not the main reason property disposal gets hung up.

Coburn said advocates for the homeless should focus more on getting a share of the money that could be made from selling federal property than protecting a law that slows down the process by offering many properties that would never be suitable for their needs.

According to testimony from a GAO official, there are many impediments to disposing of property. If a federal agency no longer needs a building, the property must first be offered to another agency, then to nonprofit organizations and state and local governments.

“As a result of this lengthy process … underutilized or excess properties may remain in an agency's possession for years and continue to accumulate maintenance and operations costs,” the GAO says.

The White House budget office says Obama's plan would allow the independent commission to cut through much of the red tape.