Created in 1990, the HOPWA program helps to prevent homelessness by providing housing assistance and supportive services to people living with HIV/AIDS and their families. While individuals and families with incomes up to 80 percent of the area median (AMI) are eligible for assistance, in practice more than 80 percent of people who receive HOPWA housing assistance have extremely low-incomes of 30 percent of AMI or less.
HOPWA is managed at the federal level by HUD’s Office of HIV/AIDS Housing, which distributes 90 percent of program funds though formula grants to states and localities. Funds can be used for both housing and services. Housing activities include development and operation of affordable housing projects, tenant-based and projected-based rental assistance, and emergency short-term assistance to prevent homelessness. Services eligible for funding include service coordination, assessment and case management, substance abuse and mental health treatment, nutritional services, and job training and placement assistance.
The remaining 10 percent of HOWPA funds are awarded to states, localities, and nonprofit organizations on a competitive basis. Priority is given to the renewal of existing competitive grants, with remaining funds supporting innovative or replicable “special projects of national significance” and existing projects in areas that do not receive a formula allocation.