Oct. 28, 2014 11:15 a.m. - Updated: 11:27 a.m.
Out of the $13 million in federal grant assistance the city of Spokane doles out every year, about $3.6 million comes from a type of grant aimed at homelessness referred to as McKinney funding.
Today, we wrote about some difficulties the city's Community, Housing and Human Services department has had since its creation more than two years ago, including the loss of Salem Arms Community Housing as a partner.
It turns out that McKinney funding, which Salem Arms relied on for some of its housing, has its origin story in Spokane.
The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act was sponsored by U.S. Rep. Tom Foley in 1987, and signed into law by President Ronald Reagan. At the time, Foley was the long time Democratic representative of eastern Washington and the House Majority Leader. Two years later, he would be elevated to be Speaker of the House and second in line to the presidency, only after the vice president. In 1995, after 30 years in office, he was defeated by George Nethercutt, and succeeded as speaker by Newt Gingrich. Foley died last year.
According to the National Coalition for the Homeless, the McKinney act “was the first – and remains the only – major federal legislative response to homelessness.”
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