President Reagan signed a $1.3 billion homeless aid package Monday that would fund programs to provide shelter, food, health care and job training for the nation's street people.
The measure - a compromise reached by Senate and House negotiators shortly before Congress adjourned - calls for considerably more than the $264.8 million Reagan originally requested, of which $70 million was allocated for food stamps.An estimated 735,000 people in the United States are homeless on any given night, and as many as 2 million may be without a place to stay for one night or more during the year. Meanwhile, federal support for low income housing has been cut from $32.2 billion in 1981 to $7.5 billion this fiscal year.
The bill calls for a two-year reauthorization of the McKinney Homeless Assistance Act, named for one of its chief supporters, Rep. Stewart McKinney, R-Conn., who died last year.
It would provide money for emergency shelters as well as subsidized low income housing, health programs including alcohol and drug abuse prevention, job training programs, adult literacy programs, education of homeless children and shelters for homeless veterans.
The House approved its version Aug. 3, and the Senate passed its bill on Sept. 28.
The compromise would fund a new program to give bonuses to states that get long-term welfare recipients into private sector jobs and provide up to $5 million in state grants for successful job training programs.