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Friday, January 18, 2013

Housing for Persons Living with HIV/AIDS

Libby Perl
Specialist in Housing Policy

Since the beginning of the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) epidemic in the early 1980s, many individuals living with the disease have had difficulty finding affordable, stable housing. As individuals become ill, they may find themselves unable to work, while at the same time facing health care expenses that leave few resources to pay for housing. In addition, many of those persons living with AIDS struggled to afford housing even before being diagnosed with the disease. The financial vulnerability associated with AIDS, as well as the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that causes AIDS, results in a greater likelihood of homelessness among persons living with the disease. At the same time, those who are homeless may be more likely to engage in activities through which they could acquire or transmit HIV. Further, recent research has indicated that those individuals living with HIV who live in stable housing have better health outcomes than those who are homeless or unstably housed, and that they spend fewer days in hospitals and emergency rooms.

Congress recognized the housing needs of persons living with HIV/AIDS when it approved the Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) program in 1990 as part of the Cranston-Gonzalez National Affordable Housing Act (P.L. 101-625). The HOPWA program, administered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), funds short-term and permanent housing, together with supportive services, for individuals living with HIV/AIDS and their families. In addition, a small portion of funds appropriated through the Ryan White HIV/AIDS program, administered by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), may be used to fund short-term housing for those living with HIV/AIDS.

In FY2012, Congress appropriated $332 million for HOPWA as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act (P.L. 112-55). This was a reduction of $3 million from the $335 million appropriated in FY2011 and FY2010, the most funding ever appropriated for the program. Prior to FY2010, the most that had been appropriated for HOPWA was $310 million in FY2009. HOPWA funds are distributed to states and localities through both formula and competitive grants. HUD awards 90% of appropriated funds by formula to states and eligible metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) based on population, reported cases of AIDS, and incidence of AIDS. The remaining 10% is distributed through a grant competition. Funds are used primarily for housing activities, although grant recipients must provide supportive services to those persons residing in HOPWA-funded housing. The Appendix provides the formula grants distributed to eligible states and metropolitan statistical areas from FY2004-FY2012.

Date of Report: January 7, 2013
Number of Pages: 27
Order Number: RL34318
Price: $29.95

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