Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) today announced that San Francisco will receive $8.5 million as part of the Department of Housing and Urban Development's Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDS (HOPWA) program. "This is good news for a program that ensures that people in a life or death battle with AIDS can concentrate on fighting their illness and not have to worry about their shelter," Pelosi said.
It was 10 years ago that Rep. Pelosi co-authored the legislation creating the HOPWA program. The bill was modeled on the experience of AIDS groups in San Francisco, which were among the first to realize that homelessness could be a tragic component of AIDS as the disease progressed and robbed its victims of their ability to earn a living and provide for their basic necessities.
As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, Rep. Pelosi fought for, and won, a $21 million increase in HOPWA funding to $225 million in the FY99 Omnibus Bill. But even this increase is not enough to deal with the growing demand on this program.
"It's important to note that in San Francisco alone, the waiting list for AIDS housing assistance is over several thousand names long, and nationally an average of 10 to 13 new communities in the United States become eligible for HOPWA funding every year. What this tells us is that thousands of people, in San Francisco and around the country, are not only fighting for their lives, but may also be at risk of losing their homes, and that's unacceptable," Pelosi said.
The HOPWA grant for all of California is $27.4 million for FY99. Funding levels are set by a formula.
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