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Tampa is awarded $2M for affordable housing for residents living with HIV and AIDS

Thomas Iacobucci
WUSF Public Media

Housing instability has been a major issue facing many people living with HIV since the beginning of the epidemic.

The city of Tampa was awarded $2,250,000 to be used for affordable housing for low- income people living with HIV and AIDS.

The money comes from $41 million pot from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Two other Florida-based organizations received money: Community Rightful Center, which provides employment services to disabled individuals in South Florida, and Broward House, which works to improve the quality of life for individuals with HIV and other chronic health challenges,

The announcement was made Wednesday on World AIDS Day, observed annually on Dec. 1 to raise awareness of those living with HIV and AIDS, commemorate those who have died, and encourage people to get tested.

These Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDS(HOPWA) grants were given to 20 local governments and non-profit organizations through the HOPWA: Housing as an Intervention to Fight AIDS funding opportunity.

Governments and non-profits like Tampa were able to apply for the grant in April, which allowed applicants to submit proposals aimed at creating and implementing new projects that align with initiatives to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic and to elevate housing as an effective structural intervention in ending the epidemic.

“The importance of affordable housing and access to inclusive, non-discriminatory supportive services for low-income persons living with HIV/AIDS cannot be understated,” said Secretary Marcia L. Fudge in a news release.

“Housing is a powerful structural intervention in ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic and this funding will provide grantees and their partners the opportunity to make a real impact in their communities.”

Housing instability has been a major issue facing many persons living with HIV since the beginning of the epidemic.

According to HUD, half of all persons living with HIV in the U.S. will experience homelessness or housing instability at some point following their diagnosis because of poor health, discrimination and more.

Additionally, HIV/AIDS-related stigma, discrimination and systemic racism contribute to differences in access to housing and lead to ongoing disparities among racial, ethnic, and LGBTQ+ communities.

The latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data, released this past summer, showed Florida leading the nation in the number of new HIV infections. Hillsborough and Pinellas counties were identified as particular areas of concern nationally.

The state has the third highest rate of infection, behind the District of Columbia and Georgia.

Tampa will be using this money to help more than 74 households in Hillsborough County with transitional housing, Tenant-Based Rental Assistance (TBRA), intensive case management and wrap-around supportive services.

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Daylina Miller is a multimedia reporter for WUSF and Health News Florida, covering health in the Tampa Bay area and across the state.