Md. gets $6.9 million grant to help victims of HIV, AIDS Earmarked for housing, services for low-income


Maryland was awarded $6.9 million in federal grants yesterday to provide housing and support services for low-income people with HIV and AIDS.

The grant, of which the Baltimore metropolitan area will receive $5.8 million, was among 42 awarded to 40 states; Washington, D.C.; and Puerto Rico to help commemorate World AIDS Day.

The federal government allocated $220 million to help more than 65,000 low-income people with human immunodeficiency virus or acquired immune deficiency syndrome.

"For too many Americans living with AIDS, poverty is nearly as much of a threat as the disease itself," Vice President Al Gore said in a statement announcing the grants.

"Without our help, many would be forced to live in unfit housing or become homeless."

The federal Department of Housing and Urban Development will distribute the money, which represents a 10 percent increase in federal funding over last year.

The Baltimore City Department of Housing and Community Development will use its $1.15 million share to start a "Back to Basics" program, said Leslie Leitch, the department's director of homeless services.

It will hire case managers and para-professionals to assess living conditions of people with HIV/AIDS and their families.

The program primarily targets women, who traditionally do not come forward, Leitch said.

Case workers will go into homes and provide referrals for housing, clothing and food.

Emergency assistance also will be available.

"With this grant, we can address a generation that has been a terribly under-represented population," Leitch said.

The rest of the $5.8 million will be used for similar services, and administered by the state Department of Housing and Community Development and the Arundel Community Development Services, said HUD spokeswoman Debbie Pickford.

The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene AIDS Administration will get a $1.1 million share.

As of June 30, 1998, there were 17,705 people living with AIDS-related illnesses in Maryland, said Tom McArdell, HIV disease surveillance supervisor for Baltimore's health department.

In Baltimore City, 9,859 people were reported to be living with AIDS-related illnesses as of the end of October.

Pub Date: 12/02/98

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