Thursday, June 11, 2009

D.C. criticized for waiting list in AIDS housing program

D.C. criticized for waiting list in AIDS housing program

The national AIDS advocacy group Housing Works says the D.C. HIV/AIDS Administration has failed to take adequate steps to reduce a growing waiting list for people with AIDS who qualify for subsidized housing under a joint federal-D.C. government program.

Christine Campbell, Housing Works’ director of national advocacy and organizing, said the waiting list for people seeking housing assistance under the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development program Housing Opportunities for People With AIDS, or HOPWA, has jumped from about 250 to close to 400 during the past several months.

“We were told that substantial improvements would be made,” Campbell said, including an effort to streamline the processing of those eligible for the program. “To date, none of these improvements have been made.

”Dena Iverson, a spokesperson for the D.C. Department of Health, of which the HIV/AIDS Administration is a part, said about 800 people are currently receiving HOPWA assistance and another 400 are on a HAA waiting list.

“The Department of Health is committed to providing D.C. residents living with HIV the assistance they need to have stable and quality housing,” Iverson said. “Due to high demand for long-term federal housing assistance, all of the funds the District has received have been distributed to residents,” she said. “DOH maintains a waiting list so that we can determine the urgency of each resident’s housing need and connect those on the list with immediate support until funds for long term housing become available.

”U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) introduced a resolution in the House of Representatives on Tuesday expressing a “sense of Congress” that more funds be allocated for the HOPWA program, even though President Obama did not seek an increase in funding for the program in his fiscal year 2010 budget.

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