Gwen Ifill's coverage of a congressional hearing on federal surplus property disposition {"Plan to Aid Homeless Is Lagging," news story, July 20} was more mystifying than illuminating. Neither comments nor facts are placed in an appropriate context, giving the impression that the federal government is cutting funding for homeless programs and lagging seriously in fulfilling its responsibilities in making surplus federal property available to providers for the homeless. And to cap it all, the director of a charitable organization is the "expert" who "knows" what the government's intentions are. I wonder why no one from the Department of Housing and Urban Development was asked?

We in the Bush administration asked for $819.1 million for McKinney Act homeless programs in its 1991 budget, 72 percent above 1989 funding levels. HUD's McKinney funding has jumped 148 percent. Other programs targeted to the homeless bring the total commitment to close to a billion dollars, and that is on top of other housing, health and social service initiatives. President Bush and I have made ending the tragedy of homelessness a major goal of this administration.

According to the General Accounting Office, not only have programs been expanded and improved at HUD and throughout the administration, but interagency coordination has vastly improved the federal government's ability to address the multiple needs of the homeless in a comprehensive fashion. The GAO just completed a report on the Interagency Council on the Homeless, which I chair. It was a follow-up to a GAO report on council activities under the last administration. The Post gave extensive coverage to that original report, when it seemed the GAO had not one good thing to say. Now, under the Bush administration, the GAO evaluation of the council notes that not only has it become effective in meeting its congressional mandate, but that essentially the same state officials and assistance providers the GAO had surveyed for its last report were now basically satisfied with council services. Quite a turnaround in one year! JACK KEMP Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Washington