In the early 1980’s homelessness started to increase tremendously. The Reagan Administration viewed this as a problem federal legislators shouldn’t address. The views of the Administration caused people to advocate and campaign all around the country. By 1986, the peoples' voices were heard. The Homeless Persons’ Survival Actwas introduced to both houses of Congress. While the Act was introduced, Americans were still frustrated and continue to advocate for change.
By late 1986, Congress declined the passage of the Homeless Persons’ Survival Act. Chief Republican sponsor, Stewart B. McKinney died shortly after congress decided to pass the act. This caused the Homeless Persons’ Survival Act to be renamed the Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act. The act became official when President Ronald Reagan reluctantly signed it into law July 22, 1987 (National Coalition for the Homeless). The act originally Consisted of 15 different programs to offer service to homeless people. Some of the services were “...emergency shelter, transitional housing, job training, primary health care, education, and some permanent housing” (National Coalition for the Homeless).
While President Clinton was in office in 2000, Bruce Vento died. Bruce was one of the key supporters since the act was first signed in 1987. Bill Clinton decided to rename the act to McKinney-Vento in honor of Bruce's commitment. He signed the act to be renamed on October 30, 2000 (National Coalition for the Homeless).
The McKinney-Vento act was reauthorized several times throughout the years. In 2001, the Bush Administration passed the No Child left Behind Act reauthorizing the McKinney-Vento Act to ensure that homeless children are provided the same opportunity at public education as other children and youth. (Homeless Program)
Stewart B. McKinney
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