HOPWA FY '96 Flat-Funding Equals Cuts at the Local Level
April 25, 1996
$171 Million Will Not Meet AIDS Housing Needs
Unlike the FY '96 Labor/HHS budget allocation, which provided approximately 5 percent more than FY '95 levels overall for Labor/HHS programs, the FY '96 budget allocation for HUD programs was significantly lower than FY '95. The original overall budget allocation for HUD programs for FY '95 was $26 billion. For FY '96, the overall amount was only $19.4 billion!
This drastic cut in the amount of FY '96 funding available for all housing programs, combined with the President's failure to make HOPWA a priority and to seek add-backs for HOPWA in the FY '96 appropriations negotiations, made our efforts to get desperately-needed increases in FY '96 HOPWA funding during the congressional appropriations process practically impossible.
In reality, the fact that HOPWA received $171 million -- the same amount as in FY '95 post-rescissions -- was significant. HOPWA was one of only 4 or 5 housing programs that did not receive a cut in actual funding levels, which is indicative of the bipartisan support we have built for the program over the past two years.
Nevertheless, we cannot simply accept flat-funding for FY '96! The reality is that flat-funding equals cuts in funding, because of the increase in cities and states that qualify for HOPWA formula grants. Thus the same $171 million that had to be divided among 66 jurisdictions in FY '95 will now have to be divided among 76 jurisdictions.
The fight is not over, however. We may have one or two "last opportunities" to increase HOPWA funding for FY '96. Currently, we are pushing the Administration to review HUD's FY '96 accounts and find $25 million to $40 million that could be "reprogrammed" for HOPWA. This additional money would help to stem drastic cuts in funding resulting from the increase in jurisdictions qualifying for FY '96 formula grants. Additionally, we are asking the Administration to include additional funding for HOPWA in any supplemental funding request it sends to congress for the FY '96-FY '97 period. It is too early to know if these efforts will be successful, but we must give it all we've got!
ACTION: Call, write and fax the President and key Administration officials listed below. Tell them flat-funding means people living with HIV/AIDS will wind up living and dying on the street. Tell them that if the Administration could find the will and the way to provide critical increases for Ryan White CARE services, it can find the will and the way to increase FY '96 funds for HOPWA, so that people living with HIV/AIDS will have the housing they need to enable them to access those services!
Leon Panetta, Chief of Staff
Alice Rivlin, Director of OMB
Nancy Ann Min, OMB
This article was provided by AIDS Action Council.