HUD Awards $33 Million To Local HIV/AIDS Housing Programs, 2 in Mass.

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WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced that more than 1,200 extremely low-income persons living with HIV/AIDS will continue to receive permanent housing as a result of nearly $33 million in grants HUD is awarding. Annually, these grants will provide permanent supportive housing for over 1,200 households so they can manage their health and access needed supportive services such as case management and employment training.

The funding announced today is offered through HUD’s Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS Program (HOPWA) and will renew HUD’s support of 18 local programs in 17 states.

In Massachusetts, there were two recipients of the HUD funds, the AIDS Action Committee from Boston, and the Community Healthlink, Inc., from Worcester.

The AIDS Action Committee, is awarded a HOPWA permanent supportive housing renewal grant of $1,415,025 to continue the “Bay State Supportive Housing Alliance” that provides tenant-based rental assistance to 24 households. In collaboration with local organizations, Father Bill’s and Mainspring, this project also provides a combination of supportive services and housing information services to 24 homeless families. This renewal grant was formerly administered by Cambridge Cares About AIDS who merged with AIDS Action Committee in 2010.

AIDS Action Committee President and CEO Rebecca Haag issued the following statement in response to grant award:

“In the last year, AIDS Action assisted 1,100 clients with housing needs and helped 100 formerly homeless clients secure housing. Our funding from HUD to help house people living with HIV/AIDS who might otherwise be homeless was critical to our ability to do this work. This funding will support our targeted outreach to people living with HIV/AIDS who are at high risk for homelessness. It is hard, to say the least, to take care of your health when you are either homeless or living in an unstable situation. HUD’s HOPWA program is a vital link in the chain of services that stabilize the living situations of extremely low income people living with HIV/AIDS, and connect them with care.

“Since 1999, the state has lowered rates of new HIV diagnoses by 54 percent, which will save the Commonwealth more than $2 billion in health care costs. Stabilizing housing is one of the many ways we improve the health outcomes of people living with HIV/AIDS and reduce the likelihood that they will transmit the virus.”

The Community Healthlink, Inc., a community-based non-profit organization in Worcester, is awarded a HOPWA permanent supportive housing renewal grant of $899,274 to continue the operations of “Miranda’s House.” This nine unit congregant housing facility provides 24-hour support to chronically homeless women living with HIV/AIDS. The project also leases an additional nine units of housing to address relapse prevention and other challenges for chronically homeless women. The project includes collaboration with the University of Massachusetts Memorial Medical Center, Family Health Center, and an array of other community-based providers.

“These grants offer housing, vital healthcare and hope to hundreds of households that combine to literally save lives,” said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan. “Having stable housing can make all the difference to the health of someone living with HIV/AIDS who might otherwise be struggling to live on our streets.”

Many of the projects receiving renewed funding provide for specialized models in outreach and service delivery, including efforts that target help to persons who have been homeless or are at extreme risk of becoming homelessness. These grants offer innovations in HIV care to increase job readiness and employment opportunities for persons in stabilized care. The grants announced today also support Opening Doors, the Obama Administration’s strategic plan to prevent and end homelessness.

In addressing goals under these strategies, HUD will contribute a variety of housing resources to promote better integration of housing interventions into comprehensive HIV care systems. Housing assistance and related services funded by HOPWA are an essential part of the comprehensive system of care for low-income persons living with HIV/AIDS. A stable home environment is also vital for these households in allowing them to access consistent medical care and maintain their health. Furthermore, secure housing can be a platform for improved quality of life.

Ninety percent of HOPWA funds are distributed by formula to cities and states based on the number of AIDS cases reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. HUD’s formula grants are managed by 135 local and state jurisdictions, which coordinate AIDS housing efforts with other HUD and community resources. Earlier this year, HUD awarded these jurisdictions nearly $300 million in formula grants. This year, HUD had made available a total of $332 million in HOPWA funds to help communities provide housing for this special needs population. Overall, these resources assist over 60,000 households annually to provide stable housing and reduced risks of homelessness for those living with HIV and other challenges.

HUD’s mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD is working to strengthen the housing market to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes: utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination; and transform the way HUD does business. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at www.hud.gov and espanol.hud.gov. You can also follow HUD on Twitter at @HUDnews or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/HUD. or sign up for news alerts on HUD’s News Listserv.

AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts is the state’s leading provider of prevention and wellness services for people vulnerable to HIV infection. It provides services to one in six people in Massachusetts living with an HIV diagnosis. These services include HIV counseling and testing; needle exchange; mental health counseling; housing assistance; and legal services. AIDS Action works to prevent new HIV infections, support those affected by HIV, and tackle the root causes of HIV/AIDS by educating the public and health professionals about HIV prevention and care; and advocating for fair and effective HIV/AIDS policy at the city, state, and federal levels. Founded in 1983, AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts is New England’s first and largest AIDS service organization. Learn more at www.aac.org.

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