Legislation and Policy

Legislation and Policy

Legislation and policy provide an important high-level framework to guide local coordination efforts. For example, the development of the Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act (1987) in the United States represents a federal policy response to homelessness. The implementation of the Act led to the creation of a 15-agency Interagency Council on the Homeless, as well as a requirement for coordinated state and local level planning efforts. All local level planning efforts are meant to support a federal plan to streamline and integrate service delivery systems. These have been supported by specific Housing and Urban Development (HUD) policies and targeted funding.

A comprehensive policy framework that clearly defines the various components of a service delivery model as well as the priority populations is a useful structure for ensuring that stakeholders are on the same page. Policy can also provide conceptual clarity around important terms such as, continuum of care or system of care. Clarity of this sort facilitates a streamlined approach to planning, program development/implementation, and management.