The city of Atlanta will launch a new task force to ensure a housing program that assists persons living with AIDS will continues to receive grant funding.

Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) is a federal program. It provides funding to support housing needs for people living with HIV or AIDS.

“I’m thankful for the consistent dedication of all HOPWA service providers and the work Commissioner [Deborah] Lonon and her team have done to make sure HOPWA is treated as a priority,” said Mayor Andre Dickens.

On Oct. 20, a number of city officials attended HOPWA’s ‘Re-New: A Luncheon Benefiting Jerusalem House’.

During the event, Dickens restated his intentions to support the housing program.

“Seeing the work Jerusalem House has been doing as Atlanta’s oldest and largest HOPWA provider warms my heart and reminds me why this administration is dedicated to moving HOPWA forward,” Dickens said.

Dickens reports that the city is coming through on previous promises to ensure the program remains up to date. According to Dickens, the full 2019 to 2021 backlog of payments was clear on June 30.

Additionally, the Department of Grants and Community Development has reimbursed over $11.5 million to HOPWA service providers, according to Lonon, the Commissioner of the City of Atlanta’s Department of Grants and Community Development.

The city has also moved forward efforts to streamline the process of contracting for HOPWA service providers.

The streamlining initiative switched to a monitoring-based approach for reimbursement submission, which reduces administrative burdens.

Using this method, the reimbursement process has dropped from 144 days to 47-days on average.

“I am thankful for Mayor Dickens dedication to moving HOPWA forward and creating additional resources to ensure HOPWA continues to thrive in Atlanta,” said Lonon.

A Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS task force

Moving forward, the mayor intends to continue pushing for further support of the HOPWA program. This will include the creation of a task force to address the anticipated reduction in HOPWA grant money.

The task force will include senior city staff, members of the HOPWA Advisory Committee and other stakeholders.

Dickens will appoint a grants and community development department member to be on Fulton County’s Ryan White’s Housing Committee.

“Along with the new service provider streamlining process and additional efforts to address HOPWA funding and viability, I look forward to seeing Mayor Dickens appoint a HOPWA service provider to a housing focused board/commission to ensure their needs are considered in the city’s overall affordable housing strategy,” said Lonon.

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