Departmental Recognition of World AIDS Day
REMARKS PREPARED FOR
ROY BERNARDI, DEPUTY SECRETARY OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 4, 2008
Good morning. Thank you all for coming. On this week of AIDS awareness events in our 20th year of international recognition of World AIDS Day, we are especially
pleased that HUD and our housing partners can directly be part of care. In the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) we have a number of great
programs that help persons with special needs, including helping persons who are homeless, persons with disabilities, and persons with risks of homelessness who
are also living with the health crisis of AIDS.
In particular, HUD operates the "Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS," program or HOPWA. We are proud of this program and the caring committed efforts
of those involved. This program is vital to the nation. It awards grants to local efforts that provide comprehensive care for people living with AIDS. On
Monday, Secretary (Steve) Preston will make the national announcement for some new HOPWA grants in a visit to a AIDS housing program in New York City.
But, today, ahead of that announcement, we want to recognize the good work in our partnerships with nonprofit organizations and the importance of our federal
collaborations. HUD adds the housing component to the related federal efforts, to provide appropriate care. Affordable housing and physical health issues are
often linked with other pressing challenges, inlcuding issues of mental health. Today, we are joined by one of our partners at the Center for Mental Health
Services, with Dr. Kenneth Thompson, Associate Director for Medical Affairs.
We are also pleased to have the head of a Minnesota nonprofit that uses HOPWA funds in that state, with Clare Housing's Executive Director Lee Lewis. I know you
are having good results in helping our clients, including many persons who had been experincing chronic homelessness before they reached your organization's
open hands of care.
Lastly, we have a resident of a project in New York City, who will be talking with us today, and performing too. Thank you Russell Barnes for that double duty
and the journey you made to be with us today.
Thank you all for helping us understand more about the challenges of HIV/AIDS and some insight on HUD's part to the nation's caring response.
I also want to thank CPD and the Office of HIV/AIDS Housing, David Vos and the other members of the staff who have worked to evaluate and effectively manage the
HOPWA grants for our Department.
Ladies and gentlemen, for more than 25 years our nation has experienced the tragedy of HIV/AIDS -- and some hope. We have learned much about the biology and
biomedicine behind AIDS-and seen tremendous medical progress. We know more is needed. In this time of trial, we have witnessed the courage of those living with
the disease. As a nation and a people, we have learned much about ourselves. It is a humbling experience to begin to understand the concerns confronting people
with HIV/AIDS. But it is also an experience of triumph as many people in stable care now can expect to live with fewer pressing health complications. For
others, not so fortunate with good treatment results, we also have shown an ability to care and offer support at a time of great need.
We know that HIV/AIDS is a devastating diagnosis, one that will change a life, hopefully leading to appropriate treatment. People in stable situations can
access this care and the complex drug therapies and vigorous treatments, consistently and with clear health results. Because there is no cure, yet, treatment has
to become a part of a new way of life with health concerns that can be managed and health crises largely kept in check.
We know from our partners and work in programs that help persons who are homeless, that too many Americans fall out of stable life situations. For persons with
AIDS who have severe risks of homelessness or now homeless, these programs are a vital bridge back. We will hear from Clare Housing in Minnesota about thier
work - and how it is a central part of HUD's mission to help our must vulnerable citizens-offering housing as a base to access that needed care.
People with AIDS are not alone. As you can imagine, a stable home environment is vital for people managing complex drug therapies. Our programs provides
funding to maintain rental housing and other services for people with HIV/AIDS-directly through HOPWA and in many other venues. That housing can make a powerful
difference...relief for the weary, reduced anxiety and more consistent participation in treatment. This is the kind of help that makes a real difference - and the
other daily tasks in living a bit easier. These programs are important to people in Minneapolis, New York and in other cities and towns nationwide. In fact, we
have provided a record $300 million in available HOPWA funds this year. Overall this program will assist over 100,000 persons and family members through this
The destiny of a nation is bound up in the destiny of each and every person. Everyone is important; no one can be forgotten or marginalized, especially if they
are sick or struggling with disease.
I am proud of the HOPWA program, and the partnerships at the federal, local and personal level that reaches clients with this housing resource. These committed
and collaborative efforts show much about America in our steadfast compassion, and concern for people who are struggling. Together, we know the purpose is sound,
the methods effective, and that we will continue to work to overcome the challenges of AIDS.
Again, thank you all for coming and for your efforts to serve people living with HIV/AIDS. Dr. Thompson, Lee, and Russell thank you again for joining us today.