Federal HIV/AIDS Housing Budget Update

Summary of Federal HIV/AIDS Housing Funding | November 22nd, 2011  

HOPWA FY12 FUNDING

For the second year in a row, funding for HOPWA was cut by Congress and President Obama.

The final HOPWA funding level for FY12 will be $332 million, compared with $334.3 million in FY11 and $335 million in FY10. We supported the National AIDS Housing Coalition’s (NAHC) recommendation for $427 million in HOPWA funding for FY12. NAHC estimates that there are 140,000 people living with HIV/AIDS around the country in immediate need of housing assistance.

Based on last year’s HOPWA allocation for New York City (which includes Westchester, Rockland and Putnam counties), we estimate this could lead to a $385,000 reduction in HOPWA funding for NYC. We won’t know what the final HOPWA allocations for states and localities will be until April 2012.

The final HOPWA number essentially splits the difference between the House proposal ($334.3 million) and Senate proposal ($330 million) for FY12.

HUD’s overall budget was cut by $3.8 billion and HOPWA was not cut as severely as other housing programs. Funding for Homeless Assistance Grants (also known as HEARTH or McKinney-Vento Act funding), another important source of housing assistance for people living with and at risk for HIV/AIDS, was flat-funded at $1.901 billion.

Note that the White House is planning to submit recommendations for updating HOPWA formula funding to Congress in December. While the proposed changes will likely result in a more equitable funding formula nationally, it may also lead to a decline in federal HOPWA funding for New York City.

SUPER COMMITTEE

As you’ve probably heard, the so-called congressional Super Committee tasked with developing a bipartisan plan to achieve $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction did not reach a deal. The fundamental disagreement is over the balance of spending cuts and revenue, including whether to keep Bush tax cuts for the wealthy.

The failure to reach a deal is now supposed to trigger $1.5 trillion in automatic across-the-board spending cuts, with roughly half coming from military spending. That could lead to further cuts for HUD programs, including HOPWA. However, there are rumors that Congress may try to avoid those automatic spending cuts.

Fifteen VOCAL members and staff were arrested on August 1st for disrupting the House of Representatives in opposition to healthcare and safety net cuts during the debate around debt ceiling legislation that led to the Super Committee.

HOPWA IN NYC’S PROPOSED 2012 CONSOLIDATED PLAN

We remain concerned about Mayor Bloomberg’s proposed 2012 HUD Consolidated Plan, which shifts federal HOPWA funding away from supportive housing and towards case management – a drift back to the “HOPWA swap.” Here are out two biggest concerns with the proposed plan:

- Doubles the amount of federal HOPWA funding for HASA case management compared with the adopted FY10 and proposed FY 11 Consolidated Plan, from $1,000,000 to $2,000,000.  The adopted FY11 Consolidated Plan doubled funding for HASA case management, although it occurred after the proposed Consolidated Plan was released and public comment period.  There was significant controversy in the past when New York City used federal HOPWA funding to supplant state and local funding for HASA case management, often referred to as the “HOPWA Swap.”

- Reduces the amount of funding available for Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) supportive housing contracts from $17,020,914 to $16,637,406, a decline of $383,508. This occurred despite a small increase to NYC’s HOPWA award between 2010 and 2011.  It is unclear what the impact of this funding will be, especially given the rising operating costs facing non-profit housing providers contracted by DOHMH.

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