Nonprofit housing providers in Atlanta are accusing the city of being chronically late with $41 million in federal HIV housing funds, leaving hundreds of people vulnerable to eviction.
What We Know:
- Hundreds of people with HIV and AIDS are now facing eviction because of the cities alleged destruction of the major HIV housing agency Living Room. The nonprofit filed a lawsuit against the city and the Head of the City’s Grants Management Office Karen Carter over their federally funded program “Housing Opportunities for Persons with Aids” (HOPWA).
- The city audited the nonprofit in March and terminated its contract in July. This dispute has serious ramifications; Living Room depends on city funding for around 90 percent of its revenue, and without this funding, around 250 people living in Atlanta with AIDS and HIV may find themselves homeless. Landlords have already filed in court to evict many of the HOPWA program’s clients and shut off utilities for around three dozen people.
- Living Room claims the failure to provide this massive federal funding was a secret government effort to ruin Living Room, though city officials deny these allegations. “This is not just another story about ineptitude within the city bureaucracy. Rather, this action involves a retaliatory campaign by the [city],” the lawsuit reads.
- Executive Director of Living Room Jerome Brooks believes the nonprofit is losing its funding because last year the group proposed the city outsource the administration of the HOPWA program to Living Room, beginning the long struggle between the group and the city. Brooks also believes the retaliation may have something to do with his rejection and reporting of sexual advances from Office of Human Services Director Preston Brant. Brant was fired by the city in May for similar accusations of inappropriate behavior with a client; Brooks also filed his complaints officially in May to Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms.
- Project Q reported that Living Room is seeking “unspecified compensatory damages” against the city, reimbursement of funds for the program owed under their contract, a permanent injunction prohibiting the city from breaching the HOPWA contract and attorneys’ fees. The Atlanta City Council approved $1.5 million for emergency HIV housing funding to keep those in danger from being evicted; The legislation was sponsored by Councilmember Joyce Sheperd.
The city has HIV and AIDS patients covered for now – but this dispute could leave around 250 citizens homeless and an important program financially destroyed.