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AIDS Foundation
of Chicago's HOPWA grant $1.4 million less than requested

AIDS Foundation
of Chicago's HOPWA grant $1.4 million less than requested

Agency will scale back housing assistance to help offset loss of federal funding.

The AIDS Foundation of Chicago requested $2.9 million in federal Housing Opportunities for People With AIDS funds to assist Chicago-area HIV-positive people with housing needs but received only $1.5 million, a cut that will force the agency to scale back services from levels offered in 2005, AFC officials told the Chicago Free Press. The agency held the first of a series of meetings on the housing cuts on March 30 at the Test Positive Aware Network. Other meetings are planned for the area in the coming weeks.

AFC received $1.6 million in HOPWA funds in 2005 plus an extra $1.2 million in rollover funds from the previous year's budget, which allowed the agency to expand its housing program and increase the amount of payments awarded to program participants. But with the limited funding available this year, AFC has had to close its housing program to all but current participants and to limit the amount it can provide each client for housing assistance to just $250 per month, AFC housing director Art Bendixen told the Free Press. Current clients in a long-term housing assistance program also will be moved to a program that provides less financial support.

The agency says it will reexamine the program next year after 2007 HOPWA grants are announced.

AFC officials are lobbying Chicago mayor Richard M. Daley and Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich for additional AIDS housing funds to help offset the loss in federal funds. They urge HIV-positive people in the Chicago area to also contact their lawmakers to urge them to approve more funds for AIDS housing.

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