D.C. Council member David Catania (I-At Large) on Monday gave city health officials 24 hours to gather AIDS spending documentation sought by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development. Since June, HUD has been requesting a program audit and other information from the city's HIV/AIDS Administration (HAA). Last week, following a series of Washington Post articles critical of the District's handling of federal AIDS funds, HUD Assistant Secretary Mercedes M. Marquez said the agency will withhold more than $12 million from the city if the problems are not fixed.
"It does not seem to me that it should be that difficult to provide them with information they asked for when they asked for it," said Catania. Catania told HAA Director Shannon Hader and Health Department Director Pierre Vigilance that he will compel them to appear at hearings every Friday, except Thanksgiving and Christmas, to address the concerns.
The Post's articles alleged fraud and waste in housing spending at HAA, which the paper said paid more than $25 million to nonprofit groups that failed to provide promised services.
"I hope to have an exhaustive list of every HUD concern, and we will go over them item by item," said Catania, who chairs the council's health committee.
Vigilance and Hader agreed to comply. Catania said he has tentatively scheduled a meeting Wednesday morning with Marquez and District health officials.
"We are confident that we will be able to resolve any remaining issues to ensure continued funding" of the housing program for people with AIDS, Hader said.
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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.