New York City: AIDS Funds Slashed
March 31, 2003
A $14 million cut in federal AIDS care funds for New York City will be felt in scores of programs serving thousands of infected people. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services cut the city's AIDS funds from $118 million last year to $104 million this year. The magnitude of the cut, which comes during a time of fiscal crisis in the city, shocked local officials.Adapted from:
Some AIDS advocates and public officials blamed the cut on the city's own health department, saying its application for the bulk of the funds was poorly prepared, with supporting materials arriving late. City Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden denied that the application was late or at fault; he said supporting materials were submitted past deadline, as they had been in previous years. HHS spokesperson Steve Merrill said Friday he could not provide an explanation of the cuts.
New York's 12 percent cut -- by far, the nation's largest -- came in Ryan White Title I funds, which HHS allots to 51 cities for low-income people with AIDS. Nationwide, the funding rose 1 percent to $600 million. Most of the 51 eligible cities received increases. The portion of New York City's funding based on the estimated number of AIDS cases increased alongside the number of people in the city living with AIDS. But supplemental funds, which are awarded competitively based on applications that are supposed to show severe need, plummeted from $48 million last year to $32 million this year.
Joe Pressley, executive director of the New York AIDS Coalition, which represents more than 200 community-based groups, was among advocates faulting the city for the loss of funding, saying its application was weak despite warnings that this year's review would be extremely rigorous. Several advocates, including Pressley, initially blamed the cuts on the Bush administration's desire to increase funding for political allies in the South. But Pressley noted that the final figures did not support that charge.
Newsday (New York City)
03.31.03; Margaret Ramirez