The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced yesterday that the District's Health Care for the Homeless project will receive $1.3 million of $46 million in grants to be awarded nationally for health services.

The grants, which are expected to benefit 400,000 homeless people in 43 states, were authorized by the Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act adopted by Congress this year. All grant recipients are required to provide 25 percent in matching funds.

The grant to the District project will allow it to expand treatment programs and provide health care services to families in emergency shelters, said Phyllis Wolfe, the project's director. Also, the grant will allow the project to issue subcontracts for family services to federally financed public health clinics, Children's Hospital and the Commission on Public Health.

"This is a big deal," Wolfe said of the HHS grant. The expansion "is the piece in the overall comprehensive picture of health care where there has been a void."

Since 1984, Health Care for the Homeless has had $1.2 million to spend over four years. About $400,000 of that total remains, Wolfe said. The funds were provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Pew Memorial Trust.