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New Orleans: Delayed Funds Hamper AIDS Patients

April 7, 2003

About 1,000 New Orleans area residents with HIV depend on federal housing funds to help pay their rent and utility bills. But this year, the money has not come through.

Almost $2.2 million comes to New Orleans from the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department's Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS program, which reimburses participating organizations for their expenses. But the federal law approving the money was not passed until about a month ago, and the city, which administers the fund locally, has not received the official authorization to spend the money, said Ellen Lee, the city official who runs the program. Neither has any other city.

About one-third of the amount came through on Friday. Lee said it will have to be spread among participating social services agencies, which give it to the people who need it.

When the money does arrive, it will be about 16 percent less than the $2.6 million the metro area received last year, Lee said, because while the program benefits those with HIV as well as those with AIDS, the formula that determines allocations is based solely on AIDS cases. And thanks to drug treatment, the number of people advancing to AIDS is shrinking -- even as the number with HIV grows steadily. "It's a dual-edge sword," Lee said.

No one knows when the rest of the authorization will arrive. Until then, Lee and colleagues are trying to provide emergency help for the neediest cases and are asking banks to extend credit lines to the not-for-profits that receive the money so they can keep their programs going. To speed up the process, Lee and her staff have been filling out contracts so they will be ready to go when the money can be spent.

Back to other CDC news for April 7, 2003

Previous Updates

Adapted from:
Times-Picayune (New Orleans)
04.05.03; John Pope

This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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