Archive for Housing

The Projects, Inner City & HIV/AIDS

the projects

Does where you live have any impact on your health? Yes it does. You’re not even meeting your basic needs which is shelter first. A recent study from John Hopkins University shed some light on a subject we all tend to ‘turn a blind eye’ towards-The Poor.

Researchers at the university followed 6,366 patients in the mostly black, low-income part of a city marked by abandoned buildings and plagued by an illegal drug trade that drew national attention on the gritty television series “The Wire.”  The key to helping poorer HIV patients – particularly blacks and women – live longer, healthier lives, according to a 15-year study published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases

From 1995 to 2010, doctors at Hopkins joined with social workers and other experts to treat HIV, and address other aspects of care that can often derail patients, such as being able to fill prescriptions or access health insurance programs for the needy.

They found that with additional assistance, at-risk patients who contract the virus in their late 20s can expect to live to about age 73 despite their race, sex or drug use, compared with some earlier data that showed higher mortality rates among such groups.

“Just like over time we have developed medications that are easier to take, have fewer toxicities and are more effective, I think we’ve done exactly the same things in our ability to deliver quality care to this particular population,” Dr. Richard Moore, the study’s lead author, said in an interview.

Previous studies have shown that certain groups of HIV patients — the poor, minorities, women and drug users — tended to have worse outcomes and die earlier. Moore found that more comprehensive care that addresses problems such as homelessness and a lack of reliable transportation can help an average 28-year-old with HIV live roughly 45 more years with no significantly higher risk of various infections or other complications. Now, remember these individuals in the study didn’t receive any medications or health care, so extending their lives was a success in this study.

Tom Thayer


Can Poverty Be Erased by Moving?


Moving low-income families out of poor neighborhoods doesn’t help the families escape poverty, according to a new study, but it does make them healthier and happier.

In a paper published this week in the Journal Science, researchers from the University of Chicago, Harvard and other institutions, studied the effects of Moving to Opportunity, an experimental federal housing program in the 1990s that offered housing vouchers to more than 2,000 low-income families so they could move from impoverished areas into mixed-income neighborhoods. A separate control group had similar demographics but didn’t move to mixed-income neighborhoods with the help of vouchers.

The program aimed to boost education and income, by giving mothers and their children access to better housing and schools, as well as better job opportunities and social networks. By those measures, it largely failed. Participants moved to better housing and safer neighborhoods, but they showed minimal economic or educational gains.

But the program nonetheless had a pronounced effect on families’ lives, researchers found. Participants had significantly lower rates of diabetes, extreme obesity, anxiety and stress than those who stayed behind. They were also much happier with their lives overall—something researchers said was particularly important.

“We don’t see very important neighborhood effects on those two outcomes that people have focused on,” said University of Chicago economist Jens Ludwig, the study’s lead author. “But the things that people had been focused on and worried about with neighborhoods aren’t the full story. Helping poor families is about a lot more than just increasing their income.”

In recent years, some economists have focused on happiness and other measures of subjective well-being that aren’t fully captured by traditional gauges of wealth and income. For the Science study, participants were asked to rate their happiness on a commonly used three-point scale. Comparing those findings with past studies, the researchers found that in terms of happiness, a 13-percentage-point drop in neighborhood poverty was the equivalent of a $13,000 increase in annual income—a dramatic increase for a population with average household income of just $20,000….think about that.. just $20,000 a year for a household.. Do you make more than $20k?

Tom Thayer


Presidential Delay Now Puts HOPWA Housing Funding in Jeopardy

aids housing_nar

This was disturbing news that broke last Friday quietly while no one was watching.  The White House released the OMB Sequestration report, which details what automatic cuts will be made to programs across the board. These automatic cuts, known as the Sequestration Cuts, will have devastating effects on the homeless and people living with HIV/AIDS, as HOPWA and Medicaid are among the programs slated to receive a huge gash in funding.

According to page 98 of the very official and incredibly dense report, HOPWA is slated to lose 8.2% of its funding, or $27 million should the sequestration take place. In very real terms, since HUD calculated that for every $1 million of funding, 192 households are served, the sequester would mean the loss of housing assistance to 5,184 households. In addition, outside of HOPWA reductions, according to calculations from the National Low Income Housing Coalition, “More than 185,000 households would lose their tenant-based rental assistance vouchers, 92,400 households would lose their project-based rental assistance housing, and 145,900 people would be remain homeless, instead of being housed under the Homeless Assistance Grant program. In addition, more than 140,000 currently housed households that include an elderly person or a person with a disability would receive reduced unit maintenance and lower levels of supportive services in units funded by Section 202 Housing for the Elderly or Section 811 Housing for People with Disabilities.”

 Congress still has time to agree on a budget deal and find ways to find 1.2 TRILLION over the next ten years. This news is especially troubling, as Medicaid’s recent reconfiguration under the Affordable Care Act could drastically improve health care services and access for people living with HIV/AIDS.

Last year, the President and the Congressional Republicans failed to reach a budget deal, which resulted in a political ruckus and a downgrading of the country’s credit rating across the world. This started a chain of events that is now leading to a new problem. The infamous Budget Super Committee was formed  of 6 House of Representatives and 6 Senators, as well as 6 Democrats and 6 Republicans. After fighting for 4 months, the Super Committee failed to reach an agreement.  Within this failure are the automatic cuts to HOPWA as well as Medicare that will adversely further disenfranchise people living with HIV/AIDS. Roofs over peoples heads are now at stake here due to the ineffectiveness of our Government.  What to do? put pressure on our politicians and leaders to address HIV/AIDS and let them know how these funding streams—Medicaid and HOPWA—can mean the difference between life and death for people. Its up to us now before its too late.
Tom Thayer


HIV Protestors Want DC Mayor Gray to Answer Questions


D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray took the stage at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center on Monday for a respite from the scandal that has dogged his days and nights since the 2010 campaign.

HIV/AIDS protestors upstaged Mr. Gray’s welcome address to the AIDS 2012 convention by shouting him down and demanding more D.C. housing for city residents infected by HIV. “Numbers don’t lie, politicians do,” they chanted while Mr. Gray tried to speak.

The episode was a study in contrasts for the embattled mayor, who on a daily basis is swatting away questions about a federal probe into an alleged “shadow” campaign that injected more than a half-million dollars into his bid to unseat incumbent Mayor Adrian M. Fenty.  Signs of progress under Mr. Gray’s watch. For instance, “there has not been a baby born in Washington, D.C., since 2009 who is HIV positive,” Mr. Gray told the AIDS 2012 audience. This is interesting facts but the HIV infection rate is going back up in the Washington DC population and mis-management of HIV Funds. But the demonstrators could not be satisfied. They wanted to know Mr. Gray’s plans to house persons infected with HIV/AIDS, premised on the fact people with lodging are more likely to take their medication.  So it seems at 20+ years since an international conference was held in the US, demonstrators need answers.

Paul Unger (correspondent) & Tom Thayer


HUD Increases Housing Funds for HIV/AIDS


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.

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.

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. 90% 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.

ARE has been fortunate to receive HUD-HOPWA Funding Grant to assist our clients in this area. We currently have 37 clients with housing emergencies that require our assistance.  Without this Grant Funds, they would have limited choices where to turn for help and in jeopardy of loosing their home.  The HOPWA Grant is renewed yearly in July and our agency always hopes we’re not cut back in funding.

Tom Thayer


Obama Cuts Funds From AIDS Housing Programs



We didn’t like hearing this news from the White House & President Obama this past week.


President Obama released his 2013 budget plan, including a $2 million cut from 2012 spending levels for HOPWA—the program that funds housing supports for people with AIDS. HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan said in the budget briefing that the $2 million cut was insignificant (unless it affects you).


According to the National AIDS Housing Coalition however, this proposed funding cut represents 384 families who will not receive supportive services through Housing for People with AIDS (HOPWA) program. I know it doesn’t sound like much unless your area is affected or you personally loose assistance.  It’s easy for people to forget those that are struggling.  HUD as estimated that there are over 145,600 households that qualify for HOPWA yet whose needs are unmet and the list is growing. If HOPWA were fully funded to support everyone in the US eligible for the program, the budget would be more than triple current funding levels ($1.08 billion),


“While $2 million dollars may seem like small change out of $332 million proposed for HOPWA, we know that every dollar lost means someone with AIDS will remain homeless,” said Christine Campbell, VP, National Advocacy and Organizing with Housing Works.


We hope our agency is not affected by these changes with the growing housing needs in our area.  Housing is a basic human right and a necessary component of HIV Health Care.  Housing is as crucial a tool to help end HIV/AIDS by providing the most basic need-a roof over your head.  Contact your local Senators and Congressperson’s to continue to push for HOPWA Funding.


Tom Thayer




Federal Housing Assistance for Persons with HIV/AIDS



To help take care of the housing needs of low-income people who are living with HIV/AIDS and their families, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) manages the Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) program.

Many different HOPWA programs and projects provide short-term and long-term rental assistance, operate community residences, or provide other supportive housing facilities that have been created to address the needs of people who are living with HIV/AIDS and the challenges that come with the disease.

AIDS Response Effort Inc, (ARE) has a sub-grant and able to offer HOWPA Housing funds for their clients.  The client list has doubled in the last 2 years due to the job and housing crisis.  We do our best to help our clients and guide them.  Our HOPWA Grant is renewed every year so like any non-profit agency, we get very nervous with Government cutbacks.  Our clients rely upon this assistance to keep a roof over their head or electricity on in the home.  Contact our office if you have any questions or how to apply.

Tom Thayer