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.