PULASKI COUNTY, Ark. (News release) – Pulaski County Community Services received a $383,000 Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) grant from the City of Little Rock Department of Housing and Neighborhood Programs. HOPWA is a federally funded grant through the Office of HIV/AIDS Housing (OHH) in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Pulaski County will administer the grant and provide housing services to low-income individuals living with HIV/AIDS. Community Health Centers of Arkansas (CHCA) is the partner organization that will provide office space and access to health clinics for a grant administrator.
To qualify for the HOPWA program, an individual must be receiving healthcare and maintain adherence to medical provider requirements. If an individual seeking housing assistance is not receiving healthcare, CHCA will assist in finding a connection with a qualified provider.
“We want to ensure that Pulaski County citizens living with HIV/AIDS have a stable environment that supports their needs,” said Pulaski County Community Services Director, Fred Love. “A stable home supports their overall health outcomes and improves the likelihood clients will be compliant with taking their medications.”
According to the Arkansas Department of Health’s 2017 HIV Surveillance Report, there were approximately 61 new AIDS cases and 102 new HIV cases in Pulaski County. Of the county population, the stage 3 AIDS prevalence was 902. The HIV prevalence was 1,264.
The cost of health care and medications, coupled with the risk of housing discrimination makes individuals living with HIV/AIDS more likely to become homeless. According to the National Coalitional for the Homeless, up to 50 percent of persons living with HIV/AIDS in the U.S. are at risk of becoming homeless.
“We’re excited to be partnering with the county on such a worthy endeavor,” said LaShannon Spencer, chief executive officer of Community Health Centers of Arkansas. “People with AIDS/HIV provide value to our community, and CHCA wants to do our part to meet their needs.”
The three major programs that Pulaski County Government will administer through the HOPWA grant are Tenant Based Rental Assistance (TBRA); Short Term Rent, Mortgage and Utility Assistance (STRMU); and Permanent Housing Placement Services. These services will be extended until funds are exhausted.