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Florida officials
cut funding to AIDS center

Florida officials
cut funding to AIDS center

Financial problems and poor management lead to cut in Ryan White funding.

Officials in Broward County, Fla., this week cut off nearly $1 million in federal Ryan White funding to Community Healthcare CenterOne, the county's largest AIDS service organization, amid ongoing financial and managerial problems at the agency, the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel reports. The loss in funding will force the center's nearly 2,000 HIV-positive clients to seek treatment and support programs elsewhere.

The agency, previously called AIDS Project Florida, has battled financial problems for years and has suffered from a lack of clear leadership at the organization, county officials say. This month saw another shake-up in leadership at the agency. Last spring, reports surfaced that a former financial officer with CenterOne had embezzled more than $60,000 from the agency.

Marcel Martin, who served as the agency's director for a year until being fired last month, urged court commissioners to pull funding from CenterOne because the agency had no official budget, no strategic plan, and no fund-raising capabilities. The Broward County Human Services Department also urged the commissioners to suspend Ryan White funding.

"This is a crisis; it is our problem and is now on our steps," county commissioner Diana Wasserman-Rubin told the Sun-Sentinel of the decision to halt funding. "These are our brothers, sisters, and friends, and continuing to throw money at something that doesn't work is not acceptable."

The county health department says it is working to move CenterOne's clients into programs at the county's hospitals and other area AIDS service groups. (Advocate.com)

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