Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) last night increased government funding for housing assistance for people living with HIV/AIDS. During congressional debate on the appropriations bill funding the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Nadler passed an amendment to restore $5 million to Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS (HOPWA).
“The cost of treatment often forces people living with HIV and AIDS to decide between medicine and housing payments and other necessities,” Congressman Nadler said. “Assistance through HOPWA is an essential service, but it’s also a moral obligation. This amendment will help keep our promise to those coping with life-changing disease.”
Last year, HOPWA funding was cut by $13 million, and this year’s Transportation, Treasury, and HUD Appropriations provides only a $3 million increase from that level. The Nadler amendment, cosponsored by Congressmen Chris Shays (R-CT) and Joe Crowley (D-NY), makes up for half of that disparity.
“I wish we had more to work with,” Nadler added, “but this amendment scrapes together all available funding – so at least we can stop HOPWA’s downhill slide.”
The HOPWA program, which enjoys broad bipartisan support, is the only federal housing program that specifically provides those cities and states hardest hit by the AIDS epidemic with the resources to address the housing crisis facing people living with AIDS. The program is controlled locally, and provides maximum flexibility to states and communities to design and implement strategies that best respond to local housing needs.
In fiscal year 2004 alone, HOPWA funds supported the delivery of services to roughly 80,000 households in 122 jurisdictions across 39 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia.
The passage of Congressman Nadler’s HOPWA amendment was one of two major housing victories last night; Nadler also passed an amendment to restore critical funding to HUD’s Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program.
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