December 8, 2009
Guess what was a top issue stressed by people with HIV and other activists at the National HIV/AIDS Strategy community discussions across the country?
HOUSING! The ongoing crisis in housing for people with HIV and those at risk of infection has been made even worse by the economic meltdown...
But just a few years ago, the Bush administration wanted to cap housing assistance in the Ryan White Care Act. People with HIV would have been restricted to just 24 months (2 years) of help over their lifetime, despite the steep challenges to finding and retaining healthy housing.
So people with HIV/AIDS, AIDS service organizations, housing and health advocates, and a number of members of Congress, fought back. They submitted comments in opposition to the proposed housing policy amendment -- and it was withdrawn!
But now it's back!
HRSA (the government agency that runs Ryan White) reinstated the policy via a Final Policy Notice (73 Federal Register 10260, February 26, 2008). This policy amendment omits the withdrawal of the bad policy!
What does this mean?
Families receiving Ryan White housing assistance will begin to lose their housing on March 26, 2010 based on this policy -- UNLESS WE TAKE ACTION TODAY AND TOMORROW.
Permanent housing options are simply not available in most parts of the country, and the lack of affordable housing is an emergency situation for more vulnerable households such as low income people with HIV/AIDS.
What can we do about this?
Please IMMEDIATELY ask your Representative to co-sign the letter from Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT-3) calling on Secretary Sebelius to reconsider this amendment. The letter must be signed by THURSDAY (December 10) so we need CALLS TODAY AND TOMORROW!
Co-Sign HRSA HIV/AIDS Bureau (HAB) Policy Amendment Letter
Contact: Meghan Whealan -- email@example.com
From the desk of honorable Congresswoman Rosa L. DeLauro
I urge you to join me in a letter to Secretary Sebelius expressing our concern for a policy that would limit the ability of affordable, stable housing for those living with HIV/AIDS. Under the policy notice, published in February 2008 with an effective date of March 27, 2008, persons receiving Ryan White housing on that date will lose their housing assistance on March 26, 2010.
For people coping with the affects of HIV/AIDS, stable housing is central to their ability to manage their disease and has a direct impact on their improved medical care. Housing status is one of the strongest predictors of health outcomes for People Living with HIV/AIDS. It is a more significant predictor than individual characteristics such as demographics, drug and alcohol use, and receipt of social services. Over time, access to housing enables access to care and the ability to stay in care-entry into HIV care, primary care visits, continuous care, and care that meets clinical practice standards.
I hope you will consider joining me in this important letter. For more information or to sign on, please contact Meghan Whealan on my staff at 5-3661 or firstname.lastname@example.org December 10, 2009.
Rosa L. DeLauro, Member of Congress
CHAMP thanks the National AIDS Housing Coalition for their tireless work on this issue and for the information in this alert.