The South Florida AIDS Network (SFAN) recently changed its committee and reporting structure. Each month people will report on Florida specific HIV issues, HIV/AIDS legislative issues, ADAP, and AICP. Some of these reports may be via skype or video-conferencing.

Joshua Rodriguez reported on changes to the budget for RWC Part B. These changes involved moving funds from two under-performing programs (Residential Substance Abuse and Medical Transportation) to five other programs (Home Delivered Meals, Medication Co-pays, Non-medical Case Management, Home and Community Based Health Services, and Referrals for Heath Care/Supportive Services). The Residential Substance Abuse program had just opened last year, but had failed to attract enough clients to justify its share of the budget. Consequently that program lost about two-thirds of its budget.

Two local agencies (Broward House and the Wellness Center) provide AICP services. A representative from Broward House reported on AICP issues. Some AICP clients had reported billing problems with Florida Blue plans. Other AICP clients were unaware that group level plans, like those purchased under the Affordable Care Act, only allow members to change plans during an open enrollment period. People attempting to change group plans outside of an open enrollment period can end up in serious financial trouble. The next time for people to change plans purchased under the Affordable Care Act will be the open enrollment period this November.

Mario De Santis reported that changes will be coming to the Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS (HOPWA) programs on January 1, 2015. Two factors are driving this change: 1) a $2.2 million cut over the last two years and 2) a re-emphasis on HOPWA’s “temporary aid” focus.

The US Congress set up HOPWA to deal with threats to achieving and maintaining housing stability among the HIV infected. Threats to achieving stable housing include barriers, such as large one-time cash outlays for utility deposits, security deposits, first/last month’s rent, etc. Threats to maintaining stable housing include emergencies, such as large medical bills, household/family emergencies, loss of income related to hospitalizations, etc.

The Permanent Housing Placement (PHP) program addresses the problem of one-time large cash outlays acting as barriers to achieving stable housing. If HOPWA had provided the security deposit for a tenant that money was to be returned to HOPWA when that tenant moved out. Sometimes, however, the landlord retained the security deposit for damages to the rental property or for some other reason. HOPWA would then lose the deposit. The new policy will allow HOPWA to track those clients whose security deposits have been retained by the landlord. If a client has two such incidents, they will be barred from future HOPWA assistance.

The Short-Term Rent, Mortgage, and Utility Assistance (STRMU) program provides assistance for those sudden emergencies that threaten the maintenance of stable housing. After January 1, 2015, a household will only receive a limited amount of assistance in a given year.

Next Meeting: September 5, 2014 at 10:00 am, at the Holy Cross Healthplex, 1000 NE 56th Street (at Dixie), Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33334. Newcomers are encouraged to attend.