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The Office of HIV/AIDS Housing within the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has awarded Kansas City $2,279,282 in grant funding over the next three years to launch new initiatives to help people living with HIV find affordable housing. This grant will have a profound effect on Kansas City's ability to help our residents by increasing the annual budget for housing and supportive services for people living with HIV by more than 30%.

To receive the Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) grant, the HIV housing services manager at the Kansas City health department submitted a detailed, 41-page grant application, outlining data-driven strategies to address houselessness among people with HIV.

The $41 million in housing grants was divided among 20 recipients, with Kansas City receiving the largest grant for our HIV housing services.

The grant will be used for:
  • Continued development of housing services continuum to meet the dynamic housing assistance and supportive needs of low-income people and their families, with an emphasis on stable housing, positive health outcomes, and racial equity
  • Employment services for 50 households
  • Short-term rent, mortgage, and utility assistance for 150 households
  • Permanent housing placement assistance for 60
  • Transitional housing assistance for 15
  • Tenant based rental assistance for 50 households

"Since becoming mayor, I have met several times with HUD officials, including hosting Sec. Fudge here in Kansas City, to push for affordable housing for all. I am proud to see these efforts paying off for Kansas Citians," said Mayor Quinton Lucas.

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"It is fitting to announce this $2.3 million grant to provide affordable housing for those living with HIV and their families on World AIDS Day—a day where we think of family and friends lost, those with us, and our need to ensure adequate access to healthcare, shelter, and love for all. I appreciate the groups in Kansas City who for generations and in challenging times have stood up to support all and remain committed to working to provide services for those living with HIV."

The funding will also support the hiring of a coordinator to lead the Housing as an Intervention to Fight AIDS (HIFA) program to ensure goals are met and to work with sponsors and collaborators.

Approximately half of all persons living with HIV in the U.S. will experience homelessness or housing instability at some point following their diagnosis. Economic disadvantages, episodes of poor health, and co-occurring health diagnoses make it difficult for many persons living with HIV to secure or maintain housing.

"People living with HIV are often unable to seek the treatment or help they need, perpetuating the HIV epidemic. Access to stable housing for those with HIV is a proven intervention toward ending the epidemic. We have shown this with our KC Life 360 initiative," said Frank Thompson, interim director of health. "Our HIV Services team is committed to providing compassionate assistance to people with HIV and is determined to confront HIV/AIDS-related stigma, discrimination and systemic racism that leads to ongoing disparities among racial, ethnic, and LGBTQ+ communities."

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These funds will allow us to build upon the successes of previous programs and take lessons learned from those experiences to provide innovative ways to support unstably housed persons living with HIV on their path towards permanent, safe, and secure housing.

Media can contact Michelle Pekarsky, Public Information Officer for the KCMO Health Department, 816-719-3610.

Filed Under: Government, City

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