Members of Congress and Homeless Advocates Mark 25th Anniversary of Historic Bill

Members of Congress and Homeless Advocates Mark 25th Anniversary of Historic Bill

McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act Has Helped Millions, But More Must Be Done

Washington, D.C. - July 18, 2012 – (RealEstateRama) — On Thursday, July 19, the National Law Center on Homelessness Poverty will mark the 25th Anniversary of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, the first major federal legislation to address homelessness, at an event with U.S. Representatives Judy Biggert (R-IL) and Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL).  Members of the media are welcome to attend.

The event will feature excerpts from Tom Morgan’s upcoming documentary, ”These Storied Streets,” which shares the heartbreaking and inspiring stories of several homeless individuals and includes a voice-over by Academy Award winner Susan Sarandon.

Twenty-five years after the McKinney-Vento Act, the 1987 law that has provided housing and other services to millions of people, their stories are still far too common.  Over 3.5 million people will be homeless in 2012.

“Since 1987, McKinney-Vento has served as the foundation of a national strategy against homelessness,” said Representative Biggert, who successfully championed expansions of McKinney-Vento for homeless kids in 2002 and 2009.  ”And after a quarter century, this landmark legislation is still making an immense difference in the lives of vulnerable kids and families. I’m very happy to join our partners at the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty to celebrate this anniversary, and take this opportunity to discuss the important work that work that remains to be done.”

”McKinney-Vento is a historic achievement, and it has helped millions of Americans, but it was only meant to be a first step toward ending homelessness,” said Maria Foscarinis, executive director of the Law Center and a primary advocate for the Act.  ”After 25 years, as the foreclosure crisis and continued unemployment force many out of their homes, urgent action is needed to fulfill the promise of the Act and to finally end homelessness.”

There is no shortage of proven programs to end and prevent homelessness, but all of them are severely underfunded.  With a modest $1.5 billion, the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-housing Program helped more than one million people remain in or return to housing.  But those funds have all been spent; Congress would need to authorize an additional $500 million in FY 2013 just to prevent an increase in homelessness.

”We have a Federal Plan to End Homelessness; what we don’t have is the funding,” added Foscarinis.  ”If Congress fully invested in programs we know are effective, there is absolutely no doubt that we could finish the job we started with McKinney-Vento.”

The event will be held from 2 - 4 pm on the top floor and roof-deck of the National Association of Realtors’ 500 New Jersey Ave., NW office in Washington, D.C.

If you are a member of the media interested in attending, please contact ">Andy Beres.

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The National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty is a leader in the movement to prevent and end homelessness.  It works to achieve this through advocacy, public education, and impact litigation.

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