Dallas awarded $247K federal grant for HIV/AIDS program targeting ex-offenders

Posted on 28 Sep 2009 at 11:54am

The city of Dallas has been awarded a $247,000 federal grant for HIV/AIDS prevention and education, according to City Manager Mary Suhm and Councilwoman Angela Hunt, who both called me first thing this morning to relay the happy news.

The grant reportedly is through a federal program called HIRE, which stands for HIV/AIDS Initiative for Re-Entry. Brett Wilkinson, director of intergovernmental services for the city of Dallas, told me last week that this program is geared toward education and prevention among HIV-positive people who are being released from prison.

Hunt said this morning that she was relieved to learn that the city had been awarded the grant given the council’s recent decision to cut $325,000 for HIV/AIDS education and prevention from this year’s budget. City officials have said they applied for the grant in July after it became clear that the budget cuts would take place.

‚ÄúThis is such a relief,” said Hunt, who introduced an unsuccessful budget amendment seeking to reinstate HIV/AIDS funding. “I know this has been such a serious concern to the GLBT community and me and other councilmembers who wanted to ensure that we had HIV/AIDS education/prevention funding. Thanks to the hard work of our city staff, we were able to attain a grant to address the very issues we were most concerned about.”

As I noted in this story last week, there is no guarantee that the grant money will go to the agencies affected by the budget cuts. Steven Pace, executive director of AIDS Interfaith, indicated that the city likely will issue a request for proposals, meaning it will become a competitive process and any agency that meets the criteria can apply.

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