"It is a bittersweet anniversary," says Maria Foscarinis, director of National Center on Homelessness. The Act was a major accomplishment: a bipartisan effort that created critical new programs that have improved the lives of hundreds of thousands of people over the past twenty years. McKinney-Vento funded programs have helped homeless children attend public schools, provided health care for homeless Americans, made job training available for homeless veterans, and given millions of people shelter or housing.
But the anniversary is also a bitter one. The Act was never intended to be the federal government’s sole response to homelessness. The Act created emergency measures designed to bring urgent relief to those already on the street. Those measures were intended as first step to address the problem to be followed by comprehensive policies that would prevent homelessness and provide long-term solutions. But the measures providing prevention and long-term solutions were never enacted and, as a result, homelessness remains a crisis in the United States.
Last week, sixteen national organizations came together to recognize the 20th anniversary and to call on the Congress to make good its 20 year-old promise to end homelessness. We delivered a bittersweet chocolate bar to every senator and representative to honor the bittersweet anniversary.
Several Members of Congress joined us-including key leaders on housing. Just as important, almost all the members of our coalition of national groups attended. We built a solid foundation for action, but we need to remain united for it to move forward.
To read the ten steps we are calling on Congress to take right now and a list of sponsoring organizations go to www.McKinney20th.org or www.nlchp.org.
To become further involved, contact:
Laura Weir, NLCHP Policy Director Laurel Weir: firstname.lastname@example.org
To read a story in the Cleveland Plain Dealer about the 20th Anniversary, go to: http://blog.cleveland.com/metro/2007/07/sunday_is_the_20th_anniversary.html