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Please help me with this one...............

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Joe K:
Where angels fear to tread...  I'm not sure we are all reading the same thread, because we are NOT talking about the same issue.  But rather than just repeat some of the comments, let me see if I can translate Tim's comments into a concrete example.

I live in Broward County (S. Florida) and the greater metropolitian area includes this county, Palm Beach and Miami/Dade, home to the city of Miami.  Our combined population is somewhere around 6 million.  Our funding from DC for HIV care, encompasses all three counties and must be shared according to certain formulas that base funding levels on the number of HIV cases in your particular county.

In Broward, we have at least 15,000 pos people, mostly gay men.  We also have only two ASOs to serve that entire population.  We used to have three, but one was just closed due to mis-management and embezzlement and their clients were all transferred to one of the two other ASOs.  Now the funding in our area has not increased in the past five years, so we are doing less each year for even smaller amounts of clients, BECAUSE THERE IS NO FUNDING TO DO MORE.

So when we have to look at money, we have to decide "Is primary medical care and medications more important than ancillary services (like counseling, groups, etc.)?"  We'd love to have enough money to do all we need to do, BUT WE DO NOT.  So we have to choose between giving people a chance at life, versus supporting others quality of life.  Not a good posiiton to be in, but here we are because Republicans don't give a shit about pos people, no matter what flavor we come in, so if some of you straight folks are so up in arms, then why not talk to the cheapskates in DC?

The saddest past of this post is that it also illustrates our failures in the real world and the unwillingness of segments of the pos population to stand up and demand their rights.  I also understand the desire for support groups that reflect your life and concerns and we'd have them, if there was funding and at least for our area, IF THERE WAS ANY DEMAND.  I've been involved with the groups here for years and whenever I hear these tired refains, my first response is to ask if the client has made their needs known to those in power.  The answer is almost always NO.

So what would you have us do?  Thousands of us have been screaming for funding for over two decades now and we have yet to ever have adequate funding levels for the level of HIV care and services that WE ALL deserve.  But the voices of gay people are no longer heard in DC, because Republicans still don't want to hear the inconvient truth that they are indeed allowing thousands of their fellow citizens to die, simply because it is more important to build more bombs, than it is to treat ill citizens.

Now, here comes the chest-thumping.  If you don't like the fact that you don't have... fill in the blank, then get off your ass and become active.  For decades we have done the best we can, with gays mostly taking the lead in ensuring we have so much of what we enjoy today.  Sure we'd like a rest, but no one else is rising to the challenge.  I also know the arguments for not getting involved.  Disclosure issues, risk of job loss, ostrazation by society, gee sounds just like being gay.  I know not all of you remain silent, but far too many do.

I risked everything to be where I am today and it's about time that others do the same.  HIV comes with no entitlements, nobody to help you begin your journey, nor anyone to witness your final breath.  HIV comes with a responsbility to give back to our community, because if we we do not do it, then no one else will.  We should not have to choose between remaining alive with sacrificing any decent quality of life yet we must.

That choice is what Straight America and it's Republican Party has deemed is what we must do and so choose we will.  I'd love to give you all everything you need to prosper, but no one can and if we must choose life, versus quality, well that's no choice at all, as you cannot have one without the other.

I've been asking for adequate funding for decades to keep us all alive.  I suppose in the end, I find it most disappointing that almost all poz people do not realize how downright cruel the Bushies are and for some to have the unmitigated gall to be complaiining that they don't have all the creature comforts, when other Americans have NO CARE AT ALL, just shows how much further we need to go.


Today, our Funding Allocation Working Group finished up the last of 4 possible funding sceanarios.  On Monday afternoon, the 3 separate groups get together to vote on Scenarios 3 and 4. (FY 2007)  The amounts we were directed to work with are:
Scenario I-   $975,000.00
Scenario II-  $1,040,000.00
Scenario III- $1,100,000.00
Scenario IV- $1,170,000.00

Sceanario I- has been allocated an additional $230,000.00 HOPWA funds & an additional $29,000.00 MAI funds

Scenario II- has been allocated an additional $260,000.00 HOPWA funds & an additional $39,000.00 MAI funds

Scenario III- has been allocated an additional $285,000.00 HOPWA funds & an additional $43,000.00 MAI funds 

Scenario IV- has not been allocated any additional HOPWA or MAI funds.

For each scenario, our three groupd have been instructed to decide how much of the total budget is to be allocated toward these services:

AIDS Emergency Fund
Benefits Counseling
Case Management
Chemical Dependency Counseling
Chemical Dependency- Emergency Residential treatment
Complimentary Alternative Medicine
Complementary Alternative Medicine Vouchers
Food and Nutrition- Food Bank
Food and Nutrition- Home Delivered Meals
Food and Nutrition- Vitamins, Minerals and Supplements
Home Health Care- Attendent
Housing Search Assistance
Long-Term Housing Programs
Information and Referral
Medical Care- Labs and Diagnostics
Medical Care- Primary Care
Medical Care- Protocol Access
Medical Care- Treatment Education
Medications- ADAP Clerk
Mental Health Counseling
Mental Health Psychiatric Assessment
Oral Health- Dental Services
Nutritional Counseling
Services to Families
Translation and Support Services
Volunteer Services
Re-Connect Services

On Monday, the three groups get together to make a decision on how much funding goes to which service, vote and ratify.  That group decision will be taken to the Planning Counsil on the regular August meeting.  The Planning Counsil may want changes, may want it done over and actually may accept it as written.  The final budget will be once aghain presented to the Planning Counsil during the September meeting and voted on and ratified.

The Planning Counsil will present the approved budget to the Board of Supervisors for adoption.

This is the first time since the Ryan White CARE Act was passed into law in 1990, the Funding Allocation Working Group has ever been instructed to develop a budget with 4 scenarios instead of 5 and for 1 year instead of 2 years.  There will be no Title I funding available in Sonoma, Sacramento or Santa Clara County (San Jose).

No where in any of the 4 possible budget scenarios is there even $1.00 for any support group whether it be Gay, Straight, Bi, Transsexual, Transgender or a combination of any or all.  Support groups are available because our ASO, Face-to-Face and our Sonoma County AIDS Food Bank have the ability and the interest in supporting their client needs and are willing to raise funds as needed to accomplish such goals.  "Straight From The Heart" was started and maintained by Graduate members of the AIDS Leadership Academy.  Positive Women's Resource Center was established by Rachel Gardner of Food for Thought and has regular meetings which rotate from the Russian River location of Food for Thought and the Santa Rosa location of the Center for HIV Prevention and Care so all interested members may attend at their own convenience.

Community Re-Connect has caused a lot of concern and name calling over the past few weeks.  This organization is my pet project.  We currently have over 700 people living with HIV/AIDS in Sonoma County, who are in care.  They are the client/patients of the Center For HIV Prevention and Care, Food for Thought, Russian River Health Centers, Alliance Health Centers and Face-to-Face with locations in Santa Rosa and Guerneville.  With the future loss of Title I funding and an estimated 1800- 2100 people living with HIV/AIDS, of which only 700 are in care as per the 2005 Sonoma County Epidemiology Report.  The proverbial shit will hit the fan when there is no Title I funding to cover the Care and Services for the uninsured and the uninsured.

Michael, Lisa, Harold, Ginger, and Carolyn (none of whom have two nickles to rub together after the 5th of each month) have raised $10,000.00 start-up capital to get this program started and to help the able and willing to return to work, get training or volunteer at ASO organizations who will not have the funding to serve their client base.  Carolyn has grant writing experience and a grant application to the NIH is about to be presented on our behalf.

We didn't have the funding either but we are making it happen. The two positions created when this grant is received will not be jobs for Michael, Lisa, Harold, Ginger or Carolyn.  Have the best day


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