AIDS Healthcare Foundation Sues LA Re HOPWA Housing - $17M+

Tom Boland (
Thu, 13 May 1999 19:31:28 -0700 (PDT)

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FWD  NewsPlanet - Tuesday, May 11, 1999


     News Planet Staff

SUMMARY: Federal money is being housed by Los Angeles bureaucracy while
homeless people with AIDS are still on the street, so the AIDS Healthcare
Foundation is going to court.">

AIDS Healthcare Foundation on May 10 filed a lawsuit in its latest effort
to unclog the City of Los Angeles pipeline for federal funds aimed at
homeless people with AIDS.  The lawsuit seeks only a judge's order
requiring the city to comply with the federal regulations under which the
Housing Opportunities for People With AIDS (HOPWA) funds were granted in
the first place.

For more than a year, AHF has tried every other means to get the city to
attend to this matter, including a 34-hour vigil in front of the mayor's
official residence (although it's unoccupied, since Republican
multi-millionaire Richard Riordan prefers his own home).  Now the city's
own audit, completed in late April, confirms in no uncertain terms that the
city Housing Department has consistently been running one to two years
behind the funding cycle since it first received money in 1992, sitting on millions
of dollars -- while the Department's own survey last year confirmed that
two-thirds of a selected group people with AIDS who had already received
some assistance from the program had experienced homelessness within the
previous three years.

In 1996, the federal government had already granted the city one waiver of
the time limit on spending HOPWA money instead of denying the next round of
funds, and Housing Department general manager Gary Pinney (also named as a
defendant in the lawsuit) maintains he has received a spoken assurance from
the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development that the flow won't
be shut off.  Although the city's advisory committee for the HOPWA funds
just approved broad plans for allocating some $15.6-million (some of those
plans pending City Council approval), when $8.7-million comes in for the
new fiscal year beginning July 1, a total of nearly $17-million will still
be unspent -- and some of those funds arrived as early as 1994.  The
Riordan administration's acknowledgment so far has been to indicate plans
for including another staff member for the Housing Department in the city's
budget for the coming year.


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