Homeless Assistance Programs

The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants program represents the primary source of federal funding for programs serving homeless people. In 2009, the HEARTH Act made significant improvements to this program.

About McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants

McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants fund local, regional, and state homeless assistance programs through the Continuum of Care (CoC) process. A CoC is a geographical administrative unit through which federal homeless assistance funds are distributed. Homeless assistance providers in a specific geographic area work together to apply for federal funding. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) ranks the applications and provides funding based on the quality of the application, the performance of the local homeless assistance system, the need for homeless assistance, and the local rankings of individual programs. Funding can be used for permanent and supportive housing, transitional housing, and services. Some funding is also distributed to communities through the Emergency Shelter Grants program.

About the HEARTH Act

The Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing (HEARTH) Act will provide communities with new resources and better tools to prevent and end homelessness. The legislation:

  • Increases priority on homeless families with children.
  • Significantly increases resources to prevent homelessness.
  • Continues to provide incentives for developing permanent supportive housing.
  • Grants rural communities greater flexibility with which to use their federal funding.