Showing posts with label McKinney-Vento Act. Show all posts
Showing posts with label McKinney-Vento Act. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Homeless Terms To Know - The HEARTH Act

The Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing Act (The HEARTH Act) was signed into law in 2009 by President Obama, and has been amended several times since.  It reauthorized the McKinney-Vento Act and made several changes to the federal response to homelessness.

It redefined many terms used in the homelessness industry, including "Homeless" and "Chronically Homeless", it consolidated certain departments which eventually became the CoC program, it renewed emphasis on performance required for grants, and established the HMIS.

The HEARTH Act is the legislation currently being used by the federal government in its response to homelessness.

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Monday, May 12, 2014

Homeless Terms To Know - McKinney-Vento Act

The McKinney-Vento Act was created in 1987 in response to pressures on the federal government to respond to the nations growing homeless crisis.

Congress passed the Homeless Person's Survival Act legislation in 1987.   After the chief Republican sponsor of the bill died, the Act was renamed for him - the Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act.  In 2000, when the Democratic supporter of the bill passed away his name was added.  It remains today as the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act.  It is still the only major federal response to homelessness.

   There are nine sections to this legislation:
  • Title I - findings about homelessness are given, justifying the creation of the Act.  A definition of homelessness is included.
  • Title II - establishes the creation of the USICH
  • Title III - establishes the Emergency Food and Shelter Program through FEMA
  • Title IV - creates emergency and transitional housing programs through HUD.   It also establishes the Supportive Housing Demonstration Program, Supplemental Assistance for Facilities to Assist the Homeless, and Section 8 Single Room Occupancy Moderate Rehabilitation.   (NOTE: These three programs were consolidated in 2009 to form the CoC by way of the HEARTH Act.)
  • Title V - obligates federal agencies to identify unused federal property and to make that property available to state and local governments and non-profit organizations for assisting the homeless.
  • Title VI - authorizes the Department of Health and Human services to provide health care and mental health services to the homeless.
  • Title VII - authorizes educational and job training assistance to the homeless.
  • Title VIII - amends the food stamp program to facilitate participation by the homeless.
  • Title IX - extends the Veterans Job Training Act to the homeless.
 From the National Coalition for The Homeless website -
 Also in 1986, the Homeless Housing Act was adopted. This legislation created the Emergency Shelter Grant program and a transitional housing demonstration program; both programs were administered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

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Homeless Terms To Know - USICH

USICH is the acronym for the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness.

The USICH consists of the heads of some 19 Executive department cabinet heads.  They are charged with enacting the provisions of the McKinney-Vento Act.    The provisions have been modified over time, but the main objective is still to create an all-encompassing federal response to homelessness.  HTTP://USICH.GOV

In 1987, in response to increasing pressure from homeless advocates, but mostly from Mitch Snyder (and the national attention he generated, shedding light on the federal governments lack of response to the growing homeless problem in the United States), a homeless relief bill was created and passed with bipartisan support, soon after re-named the McKinney Act, for the recently deceased senator who supported the bill.  Eventually it was again renamed the McKinney-Vento Act, in honor of senator Vento who also supported the bill and who had passed away.

Like most other bills, this one has undergone several revisions over the years, but they have been mostly positive, strengthening the bill, gaining the support of each successive president.

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Saturday, May 10, 2014

Homeless Terms To Know - Continuum of Care (CoC)

The term "Continuum of Care" comes from the health care industry.  It is used to describe the type of services required by people needing a variety of services over a long period of time, such as people suffering from cancer.  For people suffering from homelessness, the Continuum of Care would include getting a homeless person into a Single Resident Occupancy (SRO) apartment, making sure they have food and other necessities, and then arranging services for them such as addiction rehabilitation, mental health therapy, employment, etc., leading up to the point of self sufficiency.  Often you'll hear this referred to as "wrap-around services".   I have also heard mention of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs (see the above image) as the impetus of this approach.   Basically, each human need requires a foundation of other needs already met, starting with physical needs, achieving those, and then moving up the list, one level at a time.   A feeling of security cannot be achieved if the physical needs have not been met.   A sense of belonging cannot occur until one has achieved a level of security, etc.

In 2009 the McKinney-Vento Act was amended with the HEARTH Act.  Among other improvements to the governments response to homelessness, the Hearth Act consolidated three previous HUD homeless assistance programs, repurposed them, and gave it the name, Continuum of Care Program.  HUDs CoC Program is a competitive funding source for those communities that are implementing CoC strategies in dealing with homelessness.    If on inspection HUD determines that a community is moving in the right direction in improving services to the homeless, HUD will award funding to help pay for these improvements.  Learn more about HUD's
Continuum of Care.
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