HIV/AIDS team earns substantial boost in state funding
Several months of persistence by the Jewish Healthcare Foundation's HIV/AIDS team has paid off in a big way. On June 27, the Pennsylvania Department of Health announced it will provide an additional $895,388 for the 2019-2020 fiscal year – a 17 percent increase from current funding levels.
This infusion of funds will go directly to five nonprofit organizations that provide early intervention services for HIV prevention and wraparound care services, transportation, case management, and peer support. The funding will also be used to expand congregate meals at Shepherd Wellness Community. With this new funding, those organizations will be able to serve an estimated 500 additional individuals, said JHF's HIV/AIDS Project Director Richard Smith (MSW).
"This is a significant increase," Smith said. "It shows the state's trust in JHF and our agencies. A lot of good work is being done here by people who are not only passionate about what they do but are good stewards of the funds."
The proposal was the result of visits to the region by Department of Health staff, as well as one-on-one assistance by Smith, Program Coordinator Sue Steele and Program Associate Ashley Chung to the nonprofits that applied.
Part of the funding has been used to help The Open Door, Inc., renovate its supportive housing for high-risk people living with HIV.
JHF's HIV/AIDS team and its agents serve approximately 3,000 individuals living with HIV in the 11-county Pittsburgh region.