Thursday, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced $29 million in grants to assist more than 1,200 extremely low-income persons and families living with HIV/AIDS annually. This funding will provide these households with a stable living environment, which is essential to accessing healthcare and HIV related services. In addition to housing assistance, these local programs will provide access to the needed supportive services such as life skills, job readiness services and employment training.
The funding announced Thursday is offered through HUD’s Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS Program (HOPWA) and will renew HUD’s support of 26 local programs in 18 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
“These grants will give our local partners a vital resource to keep low-income individuals and families living with HIV/AIDS healthy,” said Secretary Shaun Donovan. “Having a place to call home can make all the difference to someone who might otherwise be homeless or on the brink of homelessness.”
The HOPWA program is both a formula entitlement program and a competitive grant program. Ninety percent of HOPWA funds are distributed by formula to cities and states based on the number of AIDS cases reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. HUD’s formula grants are managed by 137 local and state jurisdictions, which coordinate AIDS housing efforts with other HUD and community resources. Overall, these resources assist over 60,000 households annually to provide stable housing and reduced risks of homelessness for those living with HIV and other challenges. Ten percent of HOPWA funds are set aside to fund competitively awarded grants.
This year, HUD continues a policy the Department enacted in last year’s competition – encouraging communities to integrate local coordination and planning with local Continuum of Care (CoC) activities. Each of the 26 applicants have committed to coordinating with local CoCs within their primary service area in supporting local HIV/AIDS housing and service needs. This enhanced coordination effort is envisioned to promote integrated and comprehensive approaches to addressing the supportive housing needs of these special needs populations.
Many of the projects receiving renewed funding provide for specialized models in outreach and service delivery, including efforts that target help to persons who have been homeless or are at extreme risk of becoming homeless. The awarded programs are designed to increase coordination with the homeless assistance grant programs as well as other federal resources provided at the local level. These grants offer innovations in HIV care to increase job readiness and employment opportunities for persons in stabilized care.
The grants announced Thursday also support the Obama Administration’s Opening Doors strategic plan to prevent and end homelessness, and National HIV AIDS Strategy/ HIV Care Continuum, which identifies housing as a key component to reducing viral transmission.
In addressing goals under these strategies, HUD will contribute a variety of housing resources to promote better integration of housing interventions into comprehensive HIV care systems. Housing assistance and related services funded by HOPWA are an essential part of the comprehensive system of care for low-income persons living with HIV/AIDS. A stable home environment is vital for these households to access consistent medical care and maintain their health. Furthermore, secure housing can be a platform for improved quality of life.
Source: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development