National Housing Policy Priorities
National Housing Policy Areas
Currently, the Housing Works national advocacy strategy is focused in the following housing policy areas:
- Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) Funding Formula Modernization
- Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Portfolio
- National Housing As Healthcare Medicaid Coalition
- Mass Incarceration and Housing Instability
Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) Funding Formula Modernization
The National HIV/AIDS Strategy calls for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to propose a new funding formula to better target resources to people living with HIV/AIDS. Housing Works, in collaboration with the National AIDS Housing Coalition, developed and adopted the following recommendations to inform any revision of the current HOPWA formula. Because of the complexity of the issues surrounding updating the HOPWA formula, including, but not limited to, factoring in living AIDS cases, HIV cases (when creditable data is nationally available), and housing costs, Housing Works strongly urges that that formula revision be considered by the Congress through the regular authorization process in the committees of jurisdiction, Senate Banking and House Financial Services:
1. The process should be open and provide a structure for identifying and engaging all stakeholders.
2. HIV epi-data (i.e., living HIV cases) should be used in calculating grantee awards.
3. Revising the funding formulas used to determine grantee eligibility and grant amounts using a measure of living AIDS cases that does not include deceased cases and reflects the longer lives of persons living with AIDS: (GAO recommendation, GAO-06-332, February 2006, p. 64.)
4. HOPWA flexibility must remain in order to enable jurisdictions to meet local needs. Recognition of the ability of localities to best determine how HOPWA dollars should be used in meeting local needs as identified in the Consolidated Plan process.
5. Any revision should include a hold harmless provision for all formula grantees in order to maintain the stability of established programs. This would include all formula funding streams.
Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Portfolio
HOPWA, while being an essential homelessness prevention program for people living with HIV/AIDS, is only a part of the
National Housing As Healthcare Medicaid Coalition
Abundant research demonstrates that safe, affordable, and stable housing is a key structural intervention in treating people living with chronic conditions—essential to their health and well-being. (Conversely, homelessness poses a debilitating, urgent threat to those managing chronic health issues.) Medicaid already covers costly, medically-based shelter, including hospitals and various forms of institutional long-term care. The discreet purpose of the National Housing as Healthcare Medicaid Coalition is to advocate for Medicaid to cover supportive housing for eligible clients, where appropriate. Such a use is not unprecedented and, in furtherance of the Affordable Care Act’s goals, would represent an improvement in care coordination between the Departments of Health and Human Services and Housing and Urban Development.
Mass Incarceration and Housing Instability
To further understand the needs of those living with HIV/AIDS with histories of incarceration, with an emphasis on stable housing upon return to the community, Housing Works teamed up with the National Minority AIDS Council to produce the report, “Mass Incarceration, Housing Instability and HIV/AIDS: Research Findings and Policy Recommendations.” The report examines the intersection between incarceration, homelessness, and HIV vulnerability within the African-American community, as well as the social disparities that drive the AIDS pandemic including poverty, institutionalized racism, health care access, and financial disparities.
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