Los Angeles HOPWA Grant Announcement Laguna Apartments
PREPARED REMARKS FOR
STEVE PRESTON, SECRETARY OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT
LOS ANGELES, CA
THURSDAY, AUGUST 14, 2008
Thank you. I am pleased to join Congresswoman (Maxine) Waters and City Council President Eric Garcetti. We have just toured two homeless facilities where we talked with residents and staff. I am very impressed by the hard work and commitment of the City of Los Angeles and the State of California in providing effective continuums of care for people who are homeless and for persons living with HIV/AIDS who have severe risks of homelessness. I want to thank Congresswoman Waters for her time. I appreciate her insight and counsel, and commitment to ending chronic homelessness
One week ago, the 17th International AIDS Conference ended in Mexico City. I know the conference was followed with great interest by many of you, and some of you were in attendance. We now know that there are 56,300 new cases of HIV infection each year in the United States, as well as over one million Americans living with HIV.
The conference highlighted the need to understand the many challenges confronting people with HIV/AIDS infection across the world. We know that people with HIV/AIDS live longer because of successful treatment and drug therapies. However, too often the lack of housing is the barrier to participation in this care. This is especially the case when the current and pressing need is paying rent or finding safe, decent and affordable housing for persons with HIV/AIDS and their families. I know this is a subject to which Congresswoman Waters is deeply committed. I thank her for her strong leadership on this issue.
In the United States, there are a number of health-care efforts to help address the medical treatment and care challenges of HIV infection. We also know that HIV/AIDS has a personal, psychological toll well beyond the medical, physical challenges. Well, people with AIDS are not alone. There are many caring citizens, persons who volunteer or provide leadership in nonprofit organizations that engage with persons in need and connect them to available support.
In the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), we have a number of programs that offer help to make housing affordable. There are special efforts that support our most vulnerable residents, persons who are homeless and persons with HIV/AIDS who have severe risks of homelessness. One key program is called "Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS," or HOPWA. This program awards grants to local efforts that provide comprehensive care for people living with HIV/AIDS. As you can imagine, a stable home environment is vital for people managing complex drug therapies. Our program provides funding to maintain rental housing and other services for people with HIV/AIDS.
Today I am pleased to announce that HUD has awarded a grant of over $1.4 million to the City of Los Angeles Housing Department to continue to provide stable housing for person living with HIV/AIDS. This is on top of $31 million in HOPWA formula funding that we will allocate throughout the State of California, including $10.4 million here in Los Angeles. With this additional grant, the City of Los Angeles' Housing Department will continue its tenant-based rental assistance program called "Connections." Through the grant the City will continue affordable housing for 36 households. Over the next three years, the grant will also provide new assistance to 90 other eligible households.
The grant is connecting resources and is designed to work with the City's Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program to transition HOPWA recipients into Section 8 housing assistance.
These grants are part of the record $300 million in available HOPWA funds nationwide this year. Overall this program will assist an estimated 67,000 households-with help to address pressing housing challenges and improve access to care.
Our efforts to assist people with HIV/AIDS also connects with other partners in the collaboration: the County of Los Angeles Department of Health Services, the Office of AIDS Programs and Policy, the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, and a group called "Shelter Partnership," a non-profit organization providing planning and policy services for people who are homeless and for people in affordable housing. I thank all of these partners for their good work in developing and evaluating the efforts to date, and in making plans to go forward, keeping the connection to stable housing. Your work is establishing lifelines for those struggling.
The HIV/AIDS epidemic has taught us much about the courage and humanity of those confronting the disease. As a nation, we have also learned much about tolerance, compassion, and understanding. Our struggles with HIV/AIDS can have an unexpected consequence; in leading us to build successful partnerships, bringing us closer together in common purposes as a community and a nation. These grants will help to relieve stress and strain, and help many households in fighting this disease - from a stable housing base and improved access to care. They also are a reflection of ourselves, a statement that people with HIV/AIDS are not alone, that we stand with them, that we are ready to help.
Again, thank you for coming and for your support of efforts to provide services to people living with HIV/AIDS.