In 1987, Congress passed the first federal law specifically addressing homelessness. The Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act of 1987, later renamed the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, provides federal tax-payer financial support for a variety of programs for those individuals and families who are homeless and unable to provide for their own basic needs. The housing programs it authorizes are administered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, (HUD) Office of Special Needs Assistance Programs.
The enormous diversity of individuals and families who are experiencing homelessness, and the unique problems and specific needs of each subgroup require highly complex service systems. The need to provide specialized services for different sub-populations means some services or programs are appropriate for some groups of clients, but not others. In addition, a single client may need the help of numerous mainstream services beyond housing including health care, cash benefits, food, employment, and substance abuse treatment. The Continuum of Care (CoC) community-wide planning and coordination among both homeless and mainstream service providers ensures individuals and families get the help they need to leave homelessness and become stably housed.
The Continuum of Care is a committee of the Amarillo Coalition for the Homeless. Coalition meetings are held the second Friday of each month at the Amarillo Senior Citizens’ Center, 1220 S. Polk. For program or membership information, call 806-378-3005.