On March 10, Senate Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee Chair Susan Collins (R-ME) and Ranking Member Jack Reed (D-RI) introduced a bill (S. 2668) to update and improve the funding formula for HUD’s Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) program to better target resources to people living with HIV/AIDS.
S. 2668 would change the formulas so that HUD counts people living with HIV/AIDS rather than cumulative AIDS cases to determine how program funds are allocated to cities, states and nonprofit organizations. Currently, HOPWA funds are distributed based on cumulative AIDS cases that date back to 1981—55% of which are people who have died. This formula change will allow jurisdictions with increasing populations of people living with HIV/AIDS to receive more funding.
“The HOPWA Program is vital to ensuring that individuals living with HIV/AIDS, who have an elevated risk of becoming homeless, are able to access safe and affordable housing,” said Senator Collins. “The current method for distributing HOPWA Program funds is unfair to the regions of our country where individuals are feeling the effects of HIV/AIDS most acutely. Revising this outdated formula will allow these funds to benefit low-income individuals living with this illness and their families, precisely the population this program is intended to help.”
“HOPWA provides housing stability to help HIV-positive residents stay healthy. Medication is extremely expensive, and having a roof over their head enables people to better manage the disease, reduces the risk of HIV transmission, and results in better public health outcomes,” said Senator Reed. “We need to strengthen HOPWA, but the current formula shortchanges the most vulnerable. This bill provides a fairer and more accurate formula to meet the needs of those who really need assistance now and in the future.”
A similar bill (H.R. 4704) had previously been introduced in the House by Representatives David Price (D-NC) and Robert Aderholt (R-AL).
S. 2668 has been referred to the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. Senators Mark Kirk (R-IL), Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Brian Schatz (D-HI) have also cosponsored the bill.
Learn more about the bill at: https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-bill/2668
Read Senator Reed’s press release is at: http://www.reed.senate.gov/news/releases/collins-reed-introduce-bill-to-improve-housing-opportunities-for-persons-with-aids-hopwa-formula