Law provides help for homeless

The Gazette Opinion Staff
Published: June 14 2010 | 12:01 am - Updated: 31 March 2014 | 2:49 am in
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During 2009, Iowa experienced an increase in the number of homeless and near homeless individuals and families being served with services funded through state and federal programs. Additional federal assistance may be available around the corner. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, as a member of the HUD Appropriations Subcommittee, is in the position to make a real difference to the efforts we’ve already started in Iowa

In 2009, President Barack Obama signed into law the Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing Act. HEARTH reauthorized the federal McKinney-Vento programs — the federal government’s largest investment in homeless assistance — and a critical source of funding for state and local service organizations.

The changes proposed in the HEARTH Act streamline and modernize existing programs – and focus on housing-centered, cost-efficient, proven solutions to homelessness. The measure also allows for more flexibility in the use of federal funds, allowing states the opportunity to target vulnerable populations, including the growing contingent of homeless youths.

Across Iowa, especially in rural areas, many families and individuals are experiencing homelessness for the first time. And the distress this causes can lead to destructive behavior and illness. If we can provide these families housing assistance and supportive services, we can move them toward independence and stability faster.

Harkin’s commitment to providing the necessary $2.4 billion for the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants will be another confirmation of his commitment to our Iowan values.

Mary Oliver

Iowa Homeless Youth Center


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