The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development recently awarded $30.2 million to 29 HIV/AIDS housing programs across the nation, which it said would allow more than 1,000 low-income citizens living with the virus to maintain permanent housing.

Over the next three years, the funds will also help provide permanent support for over 1,232 households, assisting those affected by the virus with management of their illness. The funding is offered through the department’s Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS Program.

Baltimore’s Health Care for the Homeless, Inc. and the Baltimore Homeless Service are to receive $2.6 million of the funds.

“These programs are a critical source of support to local programs on the front lines of helping families stay healthy,” HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan said in a June 29 statement. “A stable home can make all the difference to the wellbeing of these families, many of whom have been homeless or at extreme risk of homelessness.”

The department estimates that roughly 40 percent of the households assisted will include people who have been homeless. According to HUD, the grants also support the Obama Administration’s recently announced strategic plan to end homelessness.

Blacks continue to be disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS. According to the Center for Disease Control, at the end of 2006 nearly 1.1 million people in the nation were living with the disease, but almost half of those affected were African-American. While Blacks comprise about 12 percent of the U.S. population, they account for a much higher proportion of those afflicted by all stages of the disease.

“In America today, AIDS is virtually a Black disease, by any measure,” Phil Wilson, executive director of the Black AIDS Institute in Los Angeles, told ABC News.

The CDC has targeted African-American communities in their efforts to combat the spread of HIV. In addition to working to increase HIV/AIDS prevention intervention throughout the country, the organization has also launched a new Act Against AIDS campaign that will create a $10 million, five-year partnership with 14 of the nation’s leading African-American organizations.

For a full listing of the 2010 Permanent Supportive Housing recipients, visit: www.hud.gov. For more information on HIV/AIDS in the Black community, visit: www.cdc.gov.

 

Gregory Dale

AFRO News Editor