Wednesday, May 20, 2015

HOPWA Walking and More

HOPWA in Arkansas
HOPWA Announces 29 Million Awards

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced May 19 that $29 million in grants to help approximately 1,200 extremely low-income persons and families living with HIV/AIDS annually.  These grants provide a combination of housing assistance and supportive
services for this vulnerable population. No program in Arkansas was among the awardees among the 16 states and 25 programs.

However, Arkansas Department of Health has released that its HOPWA 2015-16 funding cycle will include new grantee the Pine Bluff Housing Authority and past recipient Northwest Arkansas Regional AIDS Network. The two entities will utilize a budget of $517, 500 for services in their respective areas which will include case management and proposed rehabilitation services centered around skills assessments, pathways to employment and personal financial management classes.

During the recent 2015 Fair Housing Conference held in Little Rock, AHPG Co-Chair C. Mabin served as a panelist speaking to the state's program utilization, as well as, challenges and barriers in implementing services of the program. It was cited that due to program limitations, current housing stock often falls outside of the fair market guidelines to meet needs of clients. Also he outlined the basic tenants of the program and how the "housing is prevention," concept translates in impacting those on the program.

Currently the president's  FY 2015 budget proposal, included an outline of the update to the HOPWA program. The proposal included significant changes, such as the addition of new short-and medium-term housing interventions, assistance for homeless persons, and increased administrative fees. Additionally, the update included a momentous change to the HOPWA funding formula.

While the HIV/AIDS housing community has long supported a change to the HOPWA funding formula that would be based on living HIV/AIDS cases, it is vitally important to gain community consensus on how to implement changes fairly and without destabilizing existing HIV/AIDS housing programs. In Arkansas, the issue as to the factuality of its number of HIV/AIDS was being addressed by former Section Chief Ralph Wilmoth, yet after his departure there has been limited information as to the current status of those updates which will be necessary based on the proposed changes. According to various platforms Arkansas cases range from ADH reports that state 5,440 in 2013 to SERO Project which cites 7550.

Mid South Conference 2015

The 2015 Midsouth HIV Conference will take place on Tuesday, November 17, 2015 with preconference sessions on Monday, November 16, 2015. The theme of the 2015 Conference theme is Better Together: Getting to Zero in the Midsouth.
The goal of the conference is two-fold. The conference will provide learning opportunities for people living with HIV, providers of HIV testing, prevention, and care, as well as other community stakeholders. In keeping with the theme, the conference will also offer unique networking opportunities for individuals representing a cross-section of our community, all united in their dedication to get to zero in the Mid south.

Save the date! You don’t want to miss this conference. More information will be provided over the next couple of weeks, including a call for workshop proposals, sponsorship opportunities, scholarships for people living with HIV, registration, and accommodations. Hit up

Organizers of the National LGBT 50th Anniversary Celebration announced that entertainer and advocate Wanda Sykes will MC the National LGBT 50th Anniversary Ceremony on July 4th at Independence Hall.

Said Malcolm Lazin, National LGBT 50th Anniversary Chair: “We are tremendously excited to have Wanda Sykes, an outspoken and committed LGBT advocate, as the Master of Ceremonies for the National LGBT 50th Anniversary Ceremony. This historic one-hour Ceremony, in front of Independence Hall, commemorates the Gay Pioneers, celebrates 50 years of LGBT civil rights progress, and addresses future challenges. Wanda is a perfect MC. We are grateful to Live Nation Philadelphia and their President, Geoff Gordon for their assistance.”

An award winning writer, actress and comedienne, Wanda Sykes came out publicly in 2008 at a Proposition 8 rally In Las Vegas.   In 2010, Sykes was presented with the Stephen F.  Kolzak Award by GLAAD for making a significant difference in promoting equal rights for the LGBT community in the media.  Wanda is a 2011 LGBT History Month Icon.

The organized LGBT civil rights movement was launched when activists from New York, Washington D.C., and Philadelphia staged demonstrations for equality at Independence Hall each Fourth of July from 1965 to 1969. When 40 activists first picketed in front of Independence Hall on July 4, 1965, it was the largest demonstration for gay equality in world history.

Organized by the father and mother of the LGBT civil rights movement, Frank Kameny and Barbara Gittings, these “Annual Reminders” laid the groundwork for the Stonewall riot in 1969. After Stonewall, Kameny and Gittings suspended the Annual Reminders and turned their energies to help organize the 1970 march from Greenwich Village to Central Park for the first anniversary of Stonewall.

From July 2 to 5, in Philadelphia, the National LGBT 50th Anniversary Celebration includes panels, Gay Pioneers screening, fireworks, daily parties, six LGBT history exhibits, concerts, National Interfaith Service, wreath laying at the Gay Pioneers historic marker, and street festival in the gayborhood with the highlight the one-hour National LGBT 50th Anniversary Ceremony on a large stage in front of Independence Hall on July 4th.

There is no registration fee and most programs are free.

For more information, visit and
Save the Date! June 12, 2015 inside the Arkansas Department of Health Auditorium, 10 am to 1 pm. Make your RSVP at 501.661.2961

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