Surprisingly many people are unaware of what the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act is. This is a United States federal law that was published in July 1987 and it provides federal money for homeless shelter programs. Because in the 1980s homeless had reached a worrying percentage, this was considered to be a fortunate and significant federal legislative response to the phenomenon. This same act has been re-authorized many times since then. It had a great impact since it was the first important federal legislative response to the homeless issue. The law was initially passed by President Ronald Reagan and signed by him.
The McKinney Act had fifteen programs in the beginning. These programs would provide a wide range of services to homeless people. Some examples would be the Continuum of Care Programs such as the Supportive Housing Program, and the Single Room Occupancy Program, the Shelter Care Program, as well as the Emergency Shelter Grant one.
The Interagency Council on Homelessness, initially called the Interagency Council on the Homeless was established by this federal law. The name of the bill is formed of the names of two representatives: one Republican and one Democrat. Their names are Stewart McKinney and Bruce Vento.