New Orleans Awaits Stalled Federal Housing Funds for People Living With HIV/AIDS
New Orleans' receipt of federal funds from the Housing and Urban Development Department for people with HIV/AIDS has been delayed, causing many low-income, HIV-positive individuals in the area to fall short on paying bills and rent, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports. HUD's Housing Opportunities for People With AIDS program reimburses local agencies for providing housing funding or services to people living with HIV/AIDS. However, local officials this year have not yet received authorization to spend money for the program because the measure approving the federal money passed only last month, according to the Times-Picayune. Ellen Lee, who runs the program in New Orleans, said that one-third of the money arrived on Friday, but that amount will have to be distributed to many organizations. "Until we get the funding, we can't get the money to the local residents," Lee said. "It's driving me crazy," Lois Falk, a housing counselor for Associated Catholic Charities, said, adding, "Utilities are being turned off, and people are getting eviction notices." The amount of funding is based only on an area's reported number of AIDS cases, according to the Times-Picayune. Lee said that the number of AIDS cases is shrinking due to treatment, while the number of HIV-positive people continues to grow. New Orleans will receive almost $2.2 million from the program this year, down 16% from last year's $2.6 million allocation. Lee and colleagues will be providing emergency assistance through their organizations' lines of credit to those people most in need until the full amount of funding arrives. Local officials do not know when the remainder of the money will be distributed (Pope, New Orleans Times-Picayune, 4/5).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.