More Budget Fun...

I spent the afternoon trying to gather information about where the money that supports Philadelphians Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) comes from.

For my messy first draft of an organizational/funding chart, check out these two links:
Housing Money and Authority in Philadelphia:
Office of Housing and Community Development Funding and Programs in Philadelphia:

I also spent some quality time with federal, state, and local budgets. Here's what I've figured out:

1) Good(ish) news on the local level: if Mayor Nutter gets what he wants from the state (permission to raise the sales tax and put off paying into the pension fund) he will probably be able to maintain current levels of shelter beds and other housing programs.

2) Bad news on the local level: the Mayor's budget includes fees for accessing the formerly free city health clinics. All the available research tells us this means fewer people will use the clinics, and emergency room visits will go up while public health goes down. Guess who pays for the much more expensive emergency room visits (hint: it's not the city!)

3) Bad news on the state level: The recession has hit the state hard. While they're going to maintain a lot of important health and human services funding, HIV/AIDS programs are being flatlined (no increase) or even cut. The only exceptions are a $12,000 increase for the state's contribution to HOPWA (Housing Opportunities for People With AIDS) and a possible increase for the state's contribution to Ryan White funds (it's hard to tell, because it looks like one program has been split into two). Source:

4) Bad news on the federal level: President Obama has flatlined HOPWA. I think that the program will have to make cuts, because I think their obligations (stuff they have to pay for) is going to go up, and they aren't getting the funding to cover it. This is really bad news for AIDS housing, and coming at a time when there's all this exciting evidence showing that housing is as important as medicine for AIDS treatment, and really important to prevention, too. Of course, grassroots AIDS activists have known this since the beginning of the crisis...

5) OK news on the federal level: Ryan White funds (which, as far as I can tell, is where most of the non-housing money for PLWHA comes from) have gotten a small increase, though it's definitely not what we asked for...

6) Good news on the federal level (finally!): HUD (Housing and Urban Development) got 4 billion dollars ($4,000,000,000) to build new housing through the stimulus. Some of that money is specifically for people with disabilities, which includes people with HIV/AIDS. So our state and local governments can use the money to build more AIDS housing.

And finally, a question: does Philadelphia use Pennsylvania's Homelessness Assistance Program money. If so, what city department uses it, and how?