LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Lawmakers in Congress have taken action on some amendments related to Housing and Urban Development – including an amendment that would have eliminated the Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS.
Slotkin was among many in the U.S. House that voted down a proposal by Ohio Congressman Warren Davidson to eliminate the Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS (HOPWA).
Advocates in support of the program – which was slated for a $6 million increase from $499 million to $505 million – say the program keeps people living with HIV healthy and prevents transmission of the virus.
Michigan Department of Health and Human Services spokeswoman Lynn Sutfin tells 6 News, Michigan received $2.5 million in HOPWA funding for 77 counties; another $3.2 million for the city of Detroit and Wayne County; and $1.2 million to the city of Warren to provide services to surrounding counties, including Wayne County.
Data from MDHHS shows people living with HIV have “better outcomes” managing their illness if they are in stable housing.
In 2022, 8,106 Michiganders living with HIV and in stable housing obtained assistance through the state accessing federal dollars from another HIV program. In that group, 96% were in medical care, 87% had treated their virus effectively and 53% had such success with their medicine, they did not have measurable virus in the blood. That last measure, known as undetectable viral load, means a person cannot transmit the virus to sexual and needle-sharing partners.
Of the 334 Michiganders living with HIV without stable housing, the numbers are different. 93% are in medical care, 74% treated their virus effectively and 38% have sustained an undetectable viral load.
Without this funding, we cannot help to prevent Michiganders living with HIV from falling into homelessness and assisting them to care for their health and well-being,” Sutfin said in an email to 6 News. “HIV medical care not only serves to improve the health of people living with HIV but also prevents infection of HIV to others as people that maintain viral suppression cannot pass HIV on to others.”
Slotkin voted in opposition to the Davidson amendment, saying in a statement Tuesday night. Calling it “vital funding that helps Americans with HIV/AIDS find housing,” she said. “This action – along with other GOP efforts to strip housing funding – are part of an attack on HUD’s ability to ensure that Americans have equal access to housing.”