Cisneros Underscores Need For Community Involvement In Federal Response To AIDS
AIDS Action part of historic HHS, VA, HUD meeting
January 16, 1997
Contact: Joe Zuñiga, AIDS Action
(202) 986-1300 Ext. 3042
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Outgoing Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Henry Cisneros today coordinated an unprecedented meeting of three cabinet secretaries with a group of AIDS housing providers, residents, and advocates, including AIDS Action's government affairs director. The meeting, which was chaired by Veterans Affairs Secretary Jesse Brown and attended by Cisneros and Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala, was the first such meeting to focus exclusively on AIDS-related issues. Cisneros took the opportunity to urge Brown and Shalala to follow his model of involving community-based AIDS service providers and consumers directly affected by federal programs in the development and implementation of AIDS-related programs and policies.
"Henry Cisneros has been an incredible ally in the fight against AIDS and in efforts to provide adequate housing for people living with AIDS and their families," said Aimee Berenson, director of government affairs at AIDS Action, the nation's flagship AIDS advocacy organization. "When AIDS Action brought the people directly affected by federal AIDS housing policy to the table with Secretary Cisneros, HUD's response to the housing needs of people living with HIV and AIDS dramatically improved." Cisneros underscored not only how important his model of community involvement was to coordinating AIDS and non-AIDS housing programs within HUD, but also stressed the importance of high level coordination between agencies to ensure a comprehensive, coordinated response to the needs of people living with HIV and AIDS. Secretary Brown committed to adopting the Cisneros community involvement model at the Department of Veterans Affairs, which provides direct medical care to more people living with HIV and AIDS than any other federal agency. All three secretaries committed to continued collaboration between their agencies to coordinate and strengthen the ability of all federal programs, not just AIDS-specific programs, to meet the continuum of needs of people living with HIV and AIDS.
This article was provided by AIDS Action Council.