The City of Philadelphia’s Health Department announced a new grant program providing temporary financial assistance for renters living with HIV.
The temporary grant program provides at least three months and up to six months of direct financial assistance of $2500 to $5000 for people living with HIV who have endured a loss of income as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. People do not have to had acquired COVID-19 to be eligible for the grant.
All the money comes from the federal government’s Ryan White funding program. The Health Department’s AIDS Activities Coordinating Office (AACO) provides public oversight of the grant and is responsible for its management.
“Nearly 20,000 Philadelphians live with HIV,” Mayor Jim Kenney said, “and COVID-19 has affected them as it has all of us. This assistance will provide much needed stability for a key population while we continue to wait for the federal government to act on further aid.”
“Just as HIV treatment assistance programs save lives and taxpayer dollars by preventing serious and costly complications from HIV,” Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said, “keeping people housed can prevent negative outcomes that are costly, both to society and the individuals within it.”
“Housing and healthcare are inextricably linked,” said AACO Director Coleman Terrell. “With the stability of a home, people living with HIV can then more successfully connect to and stay connected to treatment. It’s nearly impossible to take even one pill once per day if you don’t have running water, a place to sleep, or a feeling of safety in a place to call home.”
The program provides rent relief to eligible applicants by making payments directly to landlords. People must apply through an HIV medical case manager; anyone who is HIV+ but does not have a case manager should call AACO at 215-985-2437.
Along with being HIV+, people who are eligible for the program must:
- Have experienced a loss of income.
- Rent an apartment or house in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, or Philadelphia counties in Pennsylvania or Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, or Salem counties in New Jersey.
- Have a valid and current written lease signed by the property’s landlord.
- Be actively enrolled in HIV medical case management; anyone without a case manager should call 215-985-2437.
- Have a current copy of a Ryan White certification card; people receive this card through case management.
- Not live in public housing or receive any other public rental assistance, like Section 8 or HOPWA.
- Have a gross household income no more than 500% of federal poverty level; for one person, this is $63,800 in income per year and increases by $22,400 for every household member included in the application.
The program has no application deadline and will provide the temporary rent assistance to eligible applicants until the $1.5 million fund is exhausted.