Pennsylvania: Activists Ask Philadelphia to Expand Subsidized Housing for AIDS Patients
July 7, 2010
HIV activists in Philadelphia are urging the administration of Mayor Michael Nutter to contribute local dollars to the federal funding that subsidizes housing for persons with HIV.
In 2009, 487 Philadelphia residents and their families received housing assistance through the federal Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) program, up from 363 in 2008.
Philadelphia's HOPWA waiting list has grown from 96 in 2006 to 174 in the current year, prompting AIDS activists to call for $3 million in city funds to supplement the federal contribution.
Municipalities including Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and Seattle supplement the federal housing subsidy while Philadelphia does not, according to representatives of ACT UP.
ACT UP members said seven persons with HIV died in 2009 while living on Philadelphia's streets, but the city Health Department said only one of those had applied for housing assistance.
Given the city's financial situation, Philadelphia is unlikely to provide local funds for HIV-related housing subsidies, said Doug Oliver, a spokesperson for the mayor. Improvements in HIV care are contributing to the tightening demand for housing assistance, Oliver said. "When people are getting into permanent housing, they are remaining there longer," he said.
The city of Philadelphia will distribute 65 additional housing vouchers during the fiscal year that began July 1, Oliver said. In addition, persons with HIV will be eligible for $1.34 million in HOPWA funding recently awarded to a north Philadelphia nonprofit, the Asociacio Puertorriquenos en Marcha, for rent and support services.
07.01.2010; Marcia Gelbart
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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