The Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act, 42 U.S.C.A. 11301 et seq. (1989 Supp.), was named after the Republican congressman from Connecticut. It authorizes the Housing and Urban Development Department to coordinate the disbursement of unused federal property to community groups interested in providing shelter to homeless persons, especially elderly persons, handicapped persons, families with children, Native Americans, and veterans. The Interagency Council on the Homeless (Pub. L. No. 100-77, 101 Stat. 484, 42 U.S.C.A. 11301 (b) (1) ) distributes information on how to use benefits under the act.
Initially, priority to receive excess properties was given to homeless providers rather than local communities. However, the Base Closure and Community Redevelopment Act of 1994 (Pub. L. No. 103-421, Oct. 25, 1994, 108 Stat. 4346) amended the McKinney Act by eliminating homeless providers' priority. The result is that homeless providers' needs are considered simultaneously in a community's reuse planning.
Funding and support for the McKinney Act has been reduced, especially with the 1996 Welfare reform, because the act functions in connection with other related legislation. In one recent funding cycle, nearly three thousand requests for transitional housing were submitted, but only 818 proposals could be funded under the act.
In 1996, to assist homeless individuals, the 104th Congress appropriated $823 million for the emergency shelter grants program (as authorized under subtitle B of title IV of the McKinney Act), the supportive housing program (as authorized under subtitle C of title IV of the McKinney Act), the section 8 moderate rehabilitation single room occupancy program (as authorized under the United States Housing Act of 1937 [Sept. 1, 1937, ch. 896, 50 Stat. 888], as amended, pursuant to section 441 of the McKinney Act), and the shelter plus care program (as authorized under subtitle F of the title IV of the McKinney Act) (110 Stat 2874).
Foscarinis, Maria. 1996. "Downward Spiral: Homelessness and Its Criminalization." Yale Law and Policy Review 14.