Housing Feed

April 14, 2011

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Federal Leads Continue Collaborative Efforts

By Ronald Valdiserri, M.D., M.P.H., Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health, Infectious Diseases, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Federal Leads NHAS Meeting

On Monday, April 4, 2011, representatives from the six Federal agencies designated by the President as lead agencies with responsibility for implementing the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS) met to continue our collaborative efforts to implement the Strategy. The primary focus of the meeting was the continued exploration of the impact of homelessness and housing insecurity on HIV/AIDS outcomes with a focus on how to better coordinate program and policy efforts across Federal agencies.

Our discussions are informed by specifics about relevant programs and policies shared by our respective agencies; in this way we are able to identify potential opportunities for collaboration and coordination at both the Federal and local levels. Toward that end, representatives of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and Department of Justice’s Bureau of Prisons (BOP) shared program highlights with the group and fielded questions.

Mr. David Vos, director of HUD’s Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) program, recognized the importance of our group meeting on a regular basis, noting that sharing information across agencies and joint problem solving would result in better outcomes for persons living with HIV/AIDS. He shared that the HOPWA team is currently engaged in an effort to identify model programs among its grantees. Those best practices will be documented and disseminated among all the grantees. Mr. Vos also noted that HUD is pursing a revision to its HOPWA funding formula as recommended in the NHAS. In a guest blog post, he recently shared more details on that activity. Finally, Mr. Vos noted that all of these activities are unfolding amidst broader department-wide efforts to utilize HUD assistance to improve health outcomes and quality of life for beneficiaries and communities.

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April 13, 2011

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Updating the HOPWA Funding Formula

By David Vos, Director, Office of HIV/AIDS Housing, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

David Vos

David Vos, HUD

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is committed to working with our Federal and community partners to ensure the success of the national response to HIV/AIDS articulated in the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS). In my prior post, I described some of the activities we are undertaking and how community members can engage with us on them. Today, I want to share information about our efforts to carry out one of the important tasks assigned to HUD in the Strategy’s Federal Implementation Plan.

The Strategy asks all Federal departments and agencies to review the methods used to distribute Federal HIV/AIDS-related formula grants or project implementation funds and take steps to ensure that resources go to the States and localities with the greatest need. At HUD, this means an examination of formulas related to the Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) program.

First, a quick overview of that program for those of you who may not be familiar with it. To address housing needs for low-income persons who are living with HIV/AIDS and their families, HUD manages the HOPWA program. The program is the only Federal program dedicated to address the housing needs of persons living with HIV/AIDS and their families. In program year 2010, grantees utilized HOPWA funds to provide housing support to 60,699 households, and leveraged other funds to provide housing support to an additional 31,000 households.

In fiscal year 2010, the appropriation for HOPWA was $335 million. Ninety percent ($298.5 million) was allocated by a formula based on cumulative AIDS cases to 133 qualifying areas. That formula, however, was crafted in and has been in use since 1990. It reflects the nature of AIDS surveillance information available at that time. As changes have occurred in HIV/AIDS surveillance tools over time, the method used for allocating HOPWA formula funds has become increasingly dated. Recognizing this, the Strategy’s Federal Implementation Plan specifically tasks HUD with responsibility for working with Congress to develop a plan (including seeking statutory changes if necessary) to shift to HIV/AIDS case reporting as a basis for formula grants for HOPWA funding.

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March 09, 2011

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The Department of Housing and Urban Development and the National HIV/AIDS Strategy

By David Vos, Director, Office of HIV/AIDS Housing, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

David Vos

David Vos, HUD

I am pleased to share with you the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) implementation plan for the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS). HUD is committed to working with our Federal and community partners to ensure the success of this national response to HIV/AIDS. In addition to the attached summary, I invite you to review HUD’s plan as posted on AIDS.gov.

Research has demonstrated that stable housing is an effective strategy in both reducing an individual’s HIV risk and increasing treatment adherence for persons living with HIV/AIDS. As the nation’s housing agency, HUD’s contributions will involve actions to maximize the effective use of housing resources and to enhance integration of housing programs with comprehensive HIV/AIDS care and supportive services. HUD’s FY2010-2015 Strategic Plan and Opening Doors: Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness (PDF 3MB) will also serve as foundations for carrying out these efforts.

These new documents are unified in proposing actions to increase stable housing for low-income, homeless and special needs populations, and to enhance their access to health care, supportive services, income supports, employment and other assistance. The Office of HIV/AIDS Housing will work with its Federal and community partners to develop place-based approaches to more effectively plan, deliver, and evaluate Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) programs and other related resources. Place-based approaches recognize that different places face vastly different challenges, which require very different solutions. This approach enables communities to identify distinct needs and develop locally-driven, integrated, and place-conscious solutions. Communities that have demonstrated success in this arena will be identified as model programs and will help inform our efforts to achieve housing stability and improved health outcomes for persons living with HIV/AIDS in other communities. As the partnerships with community efforts make use of multiple resources to achieve housing stability and improved health, HUD is also seeking to better engage with program stakeholders, grant administrators, area providers and program clients to enhance our results.

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January 31, 2011

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Federal Leads Explore Intersection of HIV/AIDS and Housing Insecurity or Homelessness

By Ronald Valdiserri, M.D., M.P.H, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health, Infectious Diseases, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

NHAS Meeting, 1/24/11

Participants in the Federal leads meeting included (top row, L-R): David Vos of HUD; Dr. Maggie Czarnogorski of VA; and Dr. Howard Koh of HHS and (bottom row, L-R): Dr. Ron Valdiserri of HHS; Capt. M. Shriver of the DOJ; and David Rust of SSA.

Last Monday, January 24, 2011, representatives from the six Federal agencies designated by the President as lead agencies with responsibility for implementing the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS) reconvened as part of our ongoing efforts to work toward the Strategy’s goals and achieve a more coordinated national response to the HIV epidemic in the United States. During this meeting, we focused on the issues of HIV/AIDS and homelessness and housing insecurity. We began dialogue about how the agencies could enhance collaborative efforts to address the NHAS’ charge to us to improve housing security for people living with HIV/AIDS as a means to improve health outcomes for them.  The Federal Implementation Plan directs the nation to “Support people living with HIV and co-occurring health conditions and those who have challenges meeting their basic needs, such as housing.”

Participants included representatives from the Departments of Labor, Justice, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and Veterans Affairs and the Social Security Administration. In addition, we were joined by several colleagues from the Department of Health and Human Services who deal with homeless issues at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Health Resources and Services Administration (both the Community Health Centers program and the Ryan White program), and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

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December 08, 2010

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Federal HIV/AIDS Funding Formulas Examined

By Ronald Valdiserri, M.D., M.P.H, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health, Infectious Diseases, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

collage of photos from the meeting

Last week, we convened the first in a series of ongoing discussions about the policies, formulas, and other factors that determine how Federal HIV/AIDS resources are allocated across the United States to departments of health, community-based organizations, and other grantees providing HIV/AIDS services. Participating in the discussion were personnel from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the White House’s Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP), the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA). More than 20 HIV community stakeholders representing States, cities, service providers, policy advocates, academia and other perspectives joined in the discussion and offered valuable input. (View a full list of participants [115 KB].)

In pursuit of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy’s goal of reducing new HIV infections, we must intensify HIV prevention efforts in communities where HIV is most heavily concentrated. This requires that governments at all levels – Federal, State, local and tribal – ensure that HIV/AIDS funding is allocated consistent with the latest epidemiological data and is targeted to the highest prevalence populations and communities. Toward this end, the NHAS Federal Implementation Plan tasked HHS with the responsibility of initiating consultations with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), HUD, and other departments or agencies as appropriate to develop policy recommendations for revising funding formulas and policy guidance in order to ensure that Federal HIV allocations go to the jurisdictions with the greatest need.

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