National AIDS Housing Coalition Statement on FY22 Budget
Congress has passed a $1.5 trillion package Thursday night that funds the federal government through September. This budget fails to meet the needs of low-income people living with HIV/AIDS by funding HOPWA at $450 million for FY22. HOPWA, a program within HUD, is a supportive housing program that serves low-income and extremely low-income persons living with HIV/AIDS. For the past year, advocates had been calling for an investment of $600 million into the HOPWA program to ensure that almost all grantees are flat-funded and to even remotely address the real need of thousands of low-income persons living with HIV.
By funding HOPWA at $450 million for fiscal year 2022 the Biden Administration, Congress and the 2022 National HIV and AIDS Strategy (NHAS) have all openly ignored that in order to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the United States people living with HIV/AIDS need safe, quality, affordable, and appropriate housing in order to achieve viral suppression. This ignorance to fund HOPWA appropriately will result in sizable setbacks to the progress the country has made to ensure people living with HIV/AIDS have access to safe and affordable housing.
It demonstrates the Congress’ lack of understanding that housing is a critical need for people living with HIV and that there is no path to ending the HIV epidemic in the United States without enhancing funding for HOPWA and other housing programs. Due to the new HOPWA formula, this $450 million budget will result in MAJOR financial losses for communities which include Atlanta, Georgia ($10 million loss) and Baltimore, Maryland ($1.5 million loss). Homeless service providers across the nation have already denied eligible persons from utilizing the HOPWA program with their current funding allocations.
It reveals Congress’ lack of commitment to protect and support the needs of low-income people living with HIV/AIDS, the LGBTQIA+ and BIPOC communities. 69% of new HIV infections in 2018 were in Black and Latino communities with 56% of HOPWA participants in the black community, and 77% of all HIV diagnoses in the United States representing the LGBTQIA+ community. The United States’ history of lacking of affordable housing opportunities and discrimination towards the LGBTQIA+ and BIPOC communities directly impacts health outcomes.
Housing is Healthcare. In the United States, an estimated 100,000 people with HIV/AIDS are experiencing homelessness with an estimated 400,000 people living with HIV/AIDS needing housing assistance. Treating HIV is not simply about medicine, and data indicates that those who are in stable housing have more impact on their health outcomes and viral suppression rates than demographics, receipt of social services, drug and alcohol use, or mental health status. The Ryan White program reports a viral suppression rate of 88% for clients who are housed compared to only 72% for clients who lack housing. When people are virally suppressed, they cannot transmit HIV through sex. To END the HIV epidemic, we NEED to help all living with HIV/AIDS obtain viral suppression.
For questions, please contact Lauren Banks, Executive Director of NAHC, at firstname.lastname@example.org
More information about the National AIDS Housing Coalition can be found at www.nationalaidshousing.org