Miami-Dade County, Fla., Launches Housing Assistance Service Center, Web Site for HIV/AIDS Patients
The Miami Office of Community Development on Thursday is scheduled to launch a new service center and Web site aimed at helping poor AIDS patients find affordable housing in the area, the Miami Herald reports. The Housing Assistance Service Center, which will be located at the Miami Beach Community Development Corp., will refer clients to available homes and apartments, intervene in disputes between tenants and landlords, counsel clients looking to purchase a home on how to improve their credit and provide clients who already own homes advice on how to avoid foreclosure. Currently, more than 20,900 people with HIV/AIDS live in Miami-Dade County, according to the state Department of Health. Almost 7,000 of the county's HIV/AIDS patients are very poor or extremely poor and receive medical care through programs funded by the federal Ryan White CARE Act. However, the city can only offer housing to 1,600 families affected by AIDS. Miami Office of Community Development Executive Director Barbara Gomez-Rodriguez said that there are currently more than 600 housing opportunities available, but they likely will be filled by March, according to the Herald. Vanessa Mills, president of Empower U, a not-for-profit group that manages some AIDS housing cases for the city, said, "I see great changes [in the city's housing program for AIDS patients]," adding, "I'm pleased with where we've come from last year." A dispute over how the city housing program spent money from the federal Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS program "came to a head" in fall 2002, according to the Herald. The Miami Commission intervened, and AIDS advocates and housing program administrators met to discuss the situation. The new service center resulted from those discussions (Robinson, Miami Herald, 12/17).This is part of the Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.