Today, Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA), Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Mike Quigley (D-IL) announced that the Appropriations Committee had passed their amendment to the annual Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) Appropriations Bill which would increase funding for the Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) program by $3 million.
HOPWA funding provides housing assistance and related supportive services and grantees are encouraged to develop community-wide strategies and form partnerships with area nonprofit organizations. These include, but are not limited to, the acquisition, rehabilitation, or new construction of housing units; costs for facility operations; rental assistance; and short-term payments to prevent homelessness. HOPWA funds also may be used for health care and mental health services, chemical dependency treatment, nutritional services, case management, assistance with daily living, and other supportive services.
"HOPWA is one of HUD's most effective programs and housing has been identified as one of the most important tools to ensure the continuity of treatment for those living with HIV/AIDS," said Rep. Schiff. "Stable and affordable housing not only reduces the risk of homelessness for individuals living with HIV/AIDS but also improves access to health care and other supportive services. HOPWA funding provides the most vulnerable among us the security of housing and allows them to focus on continuing life-saving drugs and treatments."
"HOPWA is an essential, cost-effective part of our National HIV/AIDS Strategy. Unstable housing and homelessness are not only a barrier to accessing effective treatment, but also increase the risk of new HIV infections, and undermine our HIV prevention efforts, as well as costs all of us more down the road," said Rep. Lee. "While I am pleased our amendment passed, the HOPWA program, and all other public health and HIV/AIDS programs, continue to be subject to severe and ongoing budget cuts and sequestration. Now is the time to scale-up these programs and sufficiently fund these needed services. Over the last few years, we have made tremendous progress in fighting this disease; we can't go back now."
"The security HOPWA provides to vulnerable families is a proven and effective tool in the fight against HIV/AIDS," said Rep. Quigley. "Studies show individuals in stable housing have improved health, are less likely to transmit the virus, and are more likely to adhere to their medications and stay out of emergency rooms, which saves everyone money. I'm thrilled we can increase funding for a vital program that makes economic sense and protects the public's health."
According to the National AIDS Housing Coalition, it is estimated that with this amendment, over 500 families will be able to apply for and receive HOPWA support -- for every $1 million spent, the program supports 171 families. An increase in funding for HOPWA in the THUD Bill was endorsed and supported by the National AIDS Housing Coalition, Federal AIDS Policy Partnership Housing Work Group, AIDS Services Foundation Orange County, Orange County HIV/AIDS Advocacy Team, Project Inform, AIDS Project Los Angeles, and the L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center.