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Origins | Timeline | Legal History

During 1980s the homelessness was not a major concern throughout the United States; the government didn’t pay much attention to. The Reagan Administration took few steps to prevent homelessness because the Administration believed that it was not a federal concern.

 As homelessness grew, it came to federal attention that they must stop it before is too late. In 1983 the first federal task force on homelessness was formed. The following years there were demands from the public to consider homelessness as a national problem. As a result the Homeless Survival Act was enacted in both houses of Congress in 1986. This Act was composed of emergency relief measures and long- time solutions to homelessness.

The Homeless Eligibility Clarification Act of 1986 ended the problems associated with a permanent address and other social barriers. Food Stamps, Medicaid, and Benefit were introduced as a result.

There was a person behind this movement by the name of Stewart B. McKinney of Connecticut. He introduced these Acts to Congress in order to create better service for the needy people. He later died and the bill was renamed the Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act. Reagan signed into law on July 22, 1987.

Library of Congress


"McKinney-Vento Act." June 2006. National Coalition for the Homeless. 10 Jul 2007.      <http://www.nationalhomeless.org/>.