Federal officials warn Washington D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty they may cut off more than $12 million in funding for the District of Columbia's HIV/AIDS program. This would be the first time in the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development's AIDS housing program's 18-year history that money would be withheld from a city based on "poor performance", reports the Washington Post.
"Assistant Secretary Mercedes M. Márquez said HUD will send a letter to the city this week stipulating that no new AIDS housing money will be awarded unless the D.C. Department of Health's HIV/AIDS Administration improves its tracking of services and spending. Márquez also wrote last week to D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D), saying she was "deeply concerned" about a recent Washington Post series that found the HIV/AIDS Administration had paid more than $25 million to nonprofit groups that delivered substandard care or failed to account for their work."
HUD officials say getting financial records from the District government is "like pulling teeth, reports City Paper.
In recent years, the District's HIV/AIDS Office has been criticized for not filling key management posts and lacking a strategic plan to counter DC's soaring seroconversion rates. At least 3 percent of Washington D.C. residents have either HIV or AIDS. The District of Columbia's HIV rate is the highest in the country and "higher than West Africa and on par with Uganda and some parts of Kenya." Black gay men continue to be most affected by DC's HIV/AIDS crisis.