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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
Building Homelessness, Not Housing
Sandorf, Julie
March 13, 1995
New York Times (03/13/95) P. A19

This month, the House Appropriations Committee decided to cut rental assistance in this year's budget for the disabled homeless and to eliminate federal housing assistance for homeless people with AIDS. Although this is not Congress' last word on how to care for "the poorest Americans," it sends a bleak signal, writes Julie Sandorf--president of the Corporation for Supportive Housing. The bottom line is that it costs considerably more not to house these people than to house them. The House panel cut $186 million from a program that would have helped fund 35,000 housing units for people with AIDS. Unless these people have a stable place to live and access to primary care, they are likely to live on the streets and in hospitals. The average cost of a hospital bed is $1,085 a day, while supportive housing costs $40 to $100 a day. If the cutbacks mean that even 1,000 AIDS patients are inappropriately housed in hospitals, the extra cost to taxpayers will be $360 million a year. The proven answer to homelessness for the majority of homeless people is supportive housing--combining permanent housing with services such as health care, job counseling, and therapy--concludes Sandorf.