Washington, DC – February 3, 2016 – (RealEstateRama) — Today, a bipartisan amendment introduced by Congressman David E. Price (D-NC) and Congressman Robert Aderholt (R-AL) passed the House of Representatives during consideration of H.R. 3700. The Price-Aderholt amendment would update the outdated funding formula for the Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDS (HOPWA) program, which provides affordable housing grants for Americans with HIV and AIDS, to better serve communities where the need for support is most acute. Research has shownthat the epicenter of the HIV/AIDS crisis has shifted to smaller cities and rural areas in states like North Carolina.
The formula change has been endorsed by national AIDS advocacy organizations, including the National AIDS Housing Coalition, AIDS United, the National Low Income Housing Coalition, and the AIDS Institute.
Congressman Price gave the following remarks in support of his amendment.
“This bipartisan amendment would provide a long-overdue update to HUD’s statutory funding formula for the Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDS program, also known as HOPWA.
“HOPWA is the only federal program solely dedicated to providing housing assistance and related supportive services for low income people living with HIV/AIDS, and their families.
“In short, this amendment would base the distribution of HOPWA funds on the current number of people living with HIV/AIDS, who desperately need this support.
“This would replace the current formula, based—incredibly—on the cumulative number of AIDS cases since the epidemic began. Last year, more than 50 percent of the people counted in the HOPWA formula were deceased!
“To say the least, this has drastically reduced HOPWA’s ability to aid jurisdictions where the need is most acute. This is particularly true in rural areas and cities that are currently bearing the brunt of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
“Congress has adjusted other AIDS support programs—including the Ryan White program—so formula funds are distributed based on the number of living HIV and AIDS cases in a given jurisdiction. Only the HOPWA formula remains out of whack, and it is denying thousands of those with HIV/AIDS the housing support they need.
“The Price-Aderholt amendment makes three changes to the current HOPWA formula. First, it utilizes living HIV/AIDS cases as the major source of funding distribution, consistent with changes made to the Ryan White program.
“Second, it directs HUD to take into consideration housing costs and local poverty rates to ensure the HOPWA program can better address varied housing needs within jurisdictions.
“And third, the amendment provides for a gradual implementation of the new funding formula over five years, to ensure jurisdictions have adequate time to adjust to new funding levels. A stop-loss provision is included so that no jurisdiction can lose more than five percent of its funding or gain more than ten percent of its funding on a year-over-year basis.
“Since 1997, the Government Accountability Office has identified the need to update the HOPWA formula.
“HUD has included similar proposals to update the formula for the last several years. And according to the Department’s most recent formula projections, 115 out of 139 jurisdictions would benefit under the proposed formula change.
“The AIDS advocacy community also supports updating the HOPWA formula to account for living cases of HIV/AIDS, including The National AIDS Housing Coalition, AIDS United, the National Low Income Housing Coalition, and the AIDS Institute.
“In closing, this bipartisan amendment will ensure that our existing federal dollars are allocated most efficiently and equitably to help those living with HIV/AIDS—without additional spending or new revenue.
“HOPWA is often the difference between homelessness and access to life-saving treatment for low-income people with this awful disease. It’s long past time to update the HOPWA formula to bring it in line with Ryan White and other AIDS support programs.
“I urge my colleagues to support this amendment.”