Wednesday, December 15, 2010

McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act of 1987

The first piece of federal legislation that directly addressed the problem of homelessness in the US was the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act of 1987.

Signed by President Ronald Reagan on July 22, 1987, the act has been amended and re-authorized several times since it went into law, and its purpose is to provide funds and coordinate resources to meet the critically urgent needs of the homeless in the nation.

The original McKinney Act consisted of fifteen different programs designed to address the needs of the homeless, including the Continuum of Care Programs: the Supportive Housing Program, the Shelter Plus Care Program, and the Single Room Occupancy Program, as well as the Emergency Shelter Grant Program.

The Act also provided a definition of "homelessness" to designate those individuals and families eligible for rights and protections under the legislation.

Title VII of the KcKinney-Vento Act was amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 to address the issue of education access for homeless children and youth. Included in the provisions was a definition of "homeless children and youth" as individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence, such as children living on the streets, as well as in motels and migrant campgrounds due to a lack of adequate housing.