Tarrant AIDS agencies take a hit

AOC faced with nearly $300,000 in funding cuts as client load increases; Planning Council trying to track funds from defunct ARRT

Allan Gould

Tammye Nash  |  Senior Editor
nash@dallasvoice.com

Tarrant County largest AIDS service organization has found itself facing nearly $300,000 in federal funding cuts as it prepares to start its 2011-2012 fiscal year. And the area as a whole, while not seeing cuts as deep as had been feared, will be seeing fewer federal dollars than before.

Cuts at AOC
Tarrant County AIDS Outreach Center Executive Director Allan Gould said this week that his agency had been told in March that even though AOC was at that time receiving only part of the Ryan White Part A funds for which it had been approved, “we were told to go ahead and spend based on last year’s budget, and that we would get level funding [equal to the previous year] through Ryan White.”

But last week, Gould said, “six months into it, we found out that there would be some substantial cuts. That’s when we realized there is about $290,000 that we were expecting that we won’t be getting.”

And that, Gould said, is in addition to some $300,000 the agency had already known was being cut.

“We are adapting the budget, and we will survive. But it’s tough,” Gould said. “We are looking at what we’re doing, looking at what we feel are the absolute necessities and what areas can take the financial hit.

“Our fiscal year [started Thursday, Sept. 1] and we had a solid budget. Now we are having to reconfigure our budget and start over. We already knew we had to cut $300,000, and we did that. We had a solid budget. Now we have to cut another nearly $300,000,” he said. “It’s really going to hurt. We have been able to go back and balance our budget. But I can’t remember any time when we have had to try and do so much with so little.”

Under the reconfigured budget, Gould said that the agency’s case management programs would be cut by 40 percent, going from seven case managers to four. The three positions being lost will be cut through attrition, he said.

Despite the fact that proper nutrition has been proven to be pivotal in maintaining optimum health for people with HIV/AIDS, AOC is being forced to cut its nutritional therapy program by 50 percent, Gould said.

“Despite how important it is to the clients’ good health, nutritional therapy is not considered medically necessary,” he said.

AOC’s other programs, Gould added, are taking a 12 percent cut across the board.

At the same time funding is being slashed, Gould said, AOC has been taking on more and more new clients as other AIDS service organizations in the area have been forced to close.
“Over the last two years, we have absorbed quite a few new clients from other agencies,” he said, pointing to the Tarrant County AIDS Interfaith Network, which closed in 2009, to the Catholic Charities’ decision to end its Lady Hogan Project and to the closure last month of AIDS Resources of Rural Texas, which had offices in Weatherford and Abilene.

Jamie Schield

AIDS Outreach folded the TCAIN clients into its programs in 2009, taking over the network’s primary program, the Geisel-Morris Dental Clinic for people with HIV/AIDS. AOC also absorbed some of the Lady Hogan Project clients, and Gould said at least some of the ARRT clients have turned to AIDS Outreach for help as well.

He explained that when AOC took over TCAIN in 2009, “at the same time we were approached by ARRT about taking over their services in Weatherford and Abilene, too. But we were not in a position to be able to do that at the time.”

Although talks between the two agencies continued, Gould said, AOC officials had recently told those at ARRT that AOC probably would not be able to assume the other agency’s programs any time soon.

But since ARRT closed its doors at the end of August, Gould acknowledged, AIDS Outreach has been left with no choice other than to try and find ways to help those ARRT clients now left without resources.

“We immediately absorbed about 150 clients from ARRT’s Weatherford office,” Gould said, “on top of the 85 or so from the Lady Hogan Project and the 300 or 400 from TCAIN. We had about 1,600 clients before. Now we have around 2,000.

“That was a huge jump for us to make [in client load], and we only got a little extra money from those other agencies. We were able to make it work, but just barely. But with these recent cuts in federal funding, it’s going to be much more difficult,” he said. “There will be instances, I am afraid, when someone comes to us for help, and we are just going to have to say no.”

Gould acknowledged that he wasn’t surprised to see federal funds cut again, but he was surprised by how deep the cuts were.

“I am still in shock that they expect the programs to continue operating at current levels. It’s an almost surreal atmosphere,” he said. “We are constantly being asked to do more for more people, but do it with less funding and less manpower. And we have to do it under continual threats of even more cuts.”

Although he is “dismayed and frustrated” by the cuts — and by the level of political infighting and negativity he sees coming from Congress today — Gould said AIDS Outreach will continue to provide services to the HIV/AIDS community.

“The bottom line is, this is reality, and we are going to have to work with what we have. We have to be diligent in our expectations of help from the federal government, and we have to be prepared about what our next steps are,” he said.

“But we will not go away. And we won’t change our mission just to chase the dollars. We are prepared to make the adjustments we have to make to remain viable for the long run.”

N. Central TX HIV Planning Council

The closing of ARRT is also causing some headaches over at the North Central Texas HIV Planning Council, which allocates federal and state funding in Tarrant, Parker, Hood and Johnson counties.

Although the cuts there were not as drastic as had been expected, “it’s still a decrease in funds for the area,” Planning Council Coordinator Jamie Schield said.

“It’s not as bad as we thought. Originally, we thought we were looking at about $520,000 in cuts. But it turned out to be just $185,000” in Ryan White Part A funds, Schield said.

“And this is the first year that the federal government has given us the money in five different parts. It makes it hard for planning, hard for the agencies to work and to get the contracts out,” Schield added. “I guess they had some problems in Washington. The money is just not out yet.”

Schield and Planning Council HIV Grants Manager Margie Drake this week explained federal funding dispersed through the Ryan White HIV Treatment Modernization ACT — previously the Ryan White CARE Act — is divided into Part A, Part B, Part C and Part D funds.

Part A funds come directly from the federal government to the Planning Council to be dispersed among local AIDS service agencies. Part B funds go from the federal government to the state government and then to the Planning Council.

Part C funds are focused on medical treatment, and Part D funds are focused on women, children and youth with HIV/AIDS.

HOPWA funds are focused on housing people with HIV/AIDS.

The council also disperses money from the state to HIV/AIDS services, Drake said.

“All these categories have lots of overlap, but there are different amounts, different reporting requirements and different disbursement rules,” Drake said. “Tarrant County is one of the few places in the nation that actually has a planning council, and that gives us more knowledge, more control to make sure we are not duplicating services. It lets us focus the money where it’s needed most.”

However, the $395,000 in Part C funds that went to ARRT’s Weatherford and Abilene offices were not under the council’s control, and Schield said his agency is now left wondering what will happen to those funds.

“They got $395,000 total for the two service areas, and they got about half of that up front,” Schield said. “Now that ARRT has closed its doors, we don’t know what the feds are doing with the remainder of those funds that had been allocated for the current year. We want to apply for those Part C funds in the future, and the Tarrant County Commissioners [on Wednesday] gave us permission to do that.”

The problem is, Tarrant County is likely to be faced now with former ARRT clients seeking the services they lost, and money to provide those services is in short supply.

“We definitely think that there will be clients coming here [to Tarrant County] looking for help, especially those clients that went to ARRT’s Weatherford office,” Drake said.

“We can only serve maybe a third of those clients with the money we have. We don’t know what the federal government is going to do with [ARRT’s remaining Part C funds], and we’ve got clients right now that need care. We are doing the best we can to put a bandage on the situation and make sure no client goes without the services they have to have.”

Schield added, “Coordination of services and funding is really pretty good out here. We do that well. But the problem now is that we need to keep the money here where it’s needed.

“Our biggest thing now is to keep that [ARRT Part C] money here in the community. It’s a very urgent issue on our end to get some answers from the federal government about where that money is going, so we can plan on our end to make sure our clients here get what they need,” he said.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 2, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Texas: A not-so-great state

As Perry eyes the presidency and Dewhurst makes a bid for the Senate, let’s look at the story the numbers really tell

Phyllis Guest | Taking NoteGuest.Phyllis.2

It seems that while David Dewhurst is running for the U.S. Senate, Rick Perry — otherwise known as Gov. Goodhair — is planning to run for president. I wonder what numbers they will use to show how well they have run Texas.

Could they cite $16 million? That’s the sum Perry distributed from our state’s Emerging Technology Fund to his campaign contributors.

Or maybe it is $4.1 billion. That’s the best estimate of the fees and taxes our state collects for dedicated purposes — but diverts to other uses.

Then again, it could be $28 billion. That’s the last published number for the state’s budget deficit, although Perry denied any deficit during his last campaign.

But let’s not get bogged down with dollar amounts. Let’s consider some of the state’s other numbers.

There’s the fact that Texas ranks worst in at least three key measures:

We are the most illiterate, with more than 10 percent of our state’s population unable to read a word. LIFT — Literacy Instruction for Texas — recently reported that half of Dallas residents cannot read a newspaper.

We also have the lowest percentage of persons covered by health insurance and the highest number of teenage repeat pregnancies.

Not to mention that 12,000 children have spent at least three years in the state welfare system, waiting for a foster parent. That’s the number reported in the Texas-loving Dallas Morning News.

Meanwhile, the Legislature has agreed to put several amendments to the Texas Constitution before the voters. HJR 63, HJR 109 plus SJR 4, SJR 16, and SJR 50 all appear to either authorize the shifting of discretionary funds or the issuance of bonds to cover expenses.

Duh. As if we did not know that bonds represent debt, and that we will be paying interest on those bonds long after Dewhurst and Perry leave office.

Further, this spring, the Lege decided that all voters — except, I believe, the elderly — must show proof of citizenship to obtain a state ID or to get or renew a driver’s license. As they did not provide any funds for the issuance of those ID cards or for updating computer systems to accommodate the new requirement, it seems those IDs will be far from free.

Also far from free is Perry’s travel. The Lege decided that the governor does not have to report what he and his entourage spend on travel, which is convenient for him because we taxpayers foot the bill for his security — even when he is making obviously political trips. Or taking along his wife and his golf clubs.

And surely neither Rick Perry nor David Dewhurst will mention the fact that a big portion of our state’s money comes from the federal government. One report I saw stated that our state received $17 billion in stimulus money, although the gov and his lieutenant berated the Democratic president for providing the stimulus.

And the gov turned down $6 billion in education funds, then accepted the funds but did not use them to educate Texans.

The whole thing — Dewhurst’s campaign and Perry’s possible campaign, the 2012-2013 budget, the recent biannual session of the Texas Legislature — seems like something Mark Twain might have written at his tongue-in-cheek best.

We have huge problems in public school education, higher education, health care, air pollution and water resources, to mention just a few of our more notable failures.

Yet our elected officials are defunding public education and thus punishing children, parents, and teachers. They are limiting women’s health care so drastically that our own Parkland Hospital will be unable to provide appropriate care to 30,000 women.

They are seeking a Medicaid “pilot program” that will pave the way for privatized medical services, which will erode health care for all but the wealthiest among us. They are fighting tooth and nail to keep the EPA from dealing with our polluted environment. They are doing absolutely nothing to ensure that Texas continues to have plenty of safe drinking water.

They are most certainly not creating good jobs.

So David Dewhurst and his wife Tricia prayed together and apparently learned that he should run for Kay Bailey Hutchison’s Senate seat. Now Rick Perry is planning a huge prayer rally Saturday, Aug. 6, at Houston’s Reliant Stadium.

God help us.

Phyllis Guest is a longtime activist on political and LGBT issues and a member of Stonewall Democrats of Dallas.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 9, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

NMAC: Lobby Congress for AIDS funding

The National Minority AIDS Council has designated next Tuesday, April 5, as “National Call-in Day to Support Funding for Domestic HIV/AIDS Programs,” and is asking everyone to call congressional leaders that day and ask them not to cut funding for those programs in the fiscal year 2011 budget.

An NMAC press release distributed today notes that Congress is negotiating a final FY 2011 budget right now, and that budget could come up for a vote next week. The short-term FY 2011 funding for federal programs runs out next Friday, April 8, and during negotiations for a final budget, domestic programs that support health care and other services for people with HIV/AIDS are at risk of being cut.

For more information, go to the NMAC website here, or call 202-483-NMAC.

—  admin

Maggie and Brian on CSPAN’s ‘Washington Journal’

In this video clip from CSPAN’s “Washington Journal,” National Organization for Marriage’s Maggie Gallagher defends plans for the House of Representatives to take time away from balancing the budget and keeping the government operational to defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court, while Brian Moulton, chief legislative counsel for Human Rights Campaign, defends President Obama’s decision NOT to defend DOMA in court.

—  admin

Goofy-looking bigot Randel Everett steps down from Baptist General Convention of Texas

Randel Everett

Randel Everett, who oversaw the Baptist General Convention of Texas during a period when two churches were forced to leave because of their acceptance of gays, is stepping down as executive director. The Dallas Morning News reports that Everett will become pastor at First Baptist Church in Midland, which frankly sounds like a better fit for him than Dallas. The story talks about how Everett had to “grapple with the recession and with the general decline of denominations. Under him, the BGCT continued to trim staff and cut its budget due to decline in giving from affiliate churches.”

Well, it seems kinda hard to complain about this stuff when you’re actively driving churches out of the convention because of your homophobia. Broadway Baptist Church in Fort Worth left the convention voluntarily in September, and Royal Lane Baptist Church was kicked out in May.

When Royal Lane was kicked out, Everett called the decision “painful.” Everett said BGCT churches should “welcome homosexuals,” but Royal Lane’s decision to allow “practicing homosexuals” as deacons meant that it was going against the group’s view that homosexuality is sinful.

If the convention were smart and wanted to stop the bleeding, they’d find someone to replace Everett who’s a little more open-minded. Trouble is, these folks don’t appear to be very smart.

—  John Wright

Well, it looks like Gary Floyd won’t be taking home an OutMusic award tonight

Not really sure how I missed this, but the OutMusic Awards which were scheduled for tonight (hump day? really?) aren’t happening — for now. OutMusic announced the awards will be postponed until Spring 2011 due to a sponsor abruptly pulling out of the ceremony. According to the letter on their website, proceeding with the awards would have been a strain on their budget. I’ve pasted the entire notice after the jump.

Unfortunately, this means we’ll have to wait on whether local musician Gary Floyd is a winner. We mentioned last month that he is up for three OutMusic awards.

I fail to see how this could have happened. The 2010 awards was to be the follow-up to an astounding success of a revival when the awards were brought back last year.  According to their site, “The 2009 OUTMUSIC Awards had a record breaking attendance of 2,000 attendees. Our OUTMUSIC Awards television media sponsor Logo TV of MTV Networks, helped the organization make history by airing the Best Moments of the 2009 OUTMUSIC Awards reaching 40 million viewers. We had a host of other media sponsors via online, radio, and live event producers across the nation, moving us one step closer to achieving Equality in the music industry and the world we live in!”

Talk about ramping up to a letdown. They aren’t revealing the sponsor’s name, but if you’re curious, you can check out the list of the 2010 OMA sponsors here and make your assumptions.

—  Rich Lopez

Helping pay the price for Peace

’Tis the season for giving, and if you have some cash to spare, you might consider giving to Hope 4 Peace and Justice.

Hope for Peace & Justice is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, founded in 2004 by Cathedral of Hope, that works to help people of faith become “champions for peace and justice.” The Rev. Michael S. Piazza is executive director.

Over the weekend, I got a Facebook message from Piazza and H4PJ that said the organization is $2,000 short of making its budget for 2010. While $2,000 is a pretty big chunk of change if you take it all in one lump sum, if you break it down into small increments, it’s not that daunting. In other words, if lots of people give a little, it all adds up to a lot!

If you can, go here to donate, and give Peace a chance.

—  admin

Readers Voice Awards – Travel


RIGHT AT HOME: Owner Wayne Falcone polished a gem of Oak Lawn history by rescuing and reinventing the Daisy Polk House. – DANIEL A. KUSNER/Dallas Voice

BEST BED AND BREAKFAST


Daisy Polk Inn
2917 Reagan St., Dallas.
214-522-4692
Sun.-Sat. 24 hrs.
Daisy Suite and Reagan Suite: $150 a night.
Dickason Suite: $129 a night.
DaisyPolkInn.com

The Daisy Polk Inn is every bit the grand dame that its namesake was. Built in 1904 and fully restored by 2002, the home was first owned by, who else, Daisy Polk — an “up and coming” star (according to the Dallas Press) of the Dallas opera scene who also taught at Hockaday School for Girls and passed away in 1980.

She lived at the Reagan Street address for 60 years. The gorgeous arts and crafts home now belongs to local pharmacist Wayne Falcone, who purchased the property in 1996. He lovingly restored it to its natural and historically correct beauty with the help of Dallas antiques expert and interior designer Gerald Tomlin.

Once the home was granted historical status and licensure to become a bed and breakfast, Falcone decided to open its doors to the public.

Guests can rent any one of the three rooms or the whole place if they prefer. Unlike typical B&Bs. Falcone turns over the keys to his guests, and they have the place to themselves until morning, when breakfast is served. And breakfast at the Daisy Polk Inn is no simple affair. From the china to the home-baked goodies, it is a lavish meal that guests won’t soon forget.

— Jenny Block

 



BEST ROMANTIC GETAWAY
New Orleans, La.
Convention and Visitor’s Bureau:
NewOrleansCVB.com
Visitor’s bureau LGBT focus:
NewOrleansOnline GLBT

 

A little more than two years ago, most of America seemed to have written off New Orleans — it was destined to become a modern-day Atlantis, swallowed up by the sea and passed away into legend.

But the residents of the Crescent City would have none of that. They persevered, rehabilitating the city as quickly as possible and welcoming back tourists — especially gay tourists — with enthusiasm. (It helps that the French Quarter, the center of gay life, is above sea-level and was largely spared when the levees broke.)

Certainly bachelor revelers into great partying and easy hookups don’t have to find a reason to frequent the Big Easy other than Mardi Gras and Southern Decadence, but the city’s old antebellum charm makes it a romantic getaway for couples, too.

For exploring together, there’s the fabulous architecture, much of it spared from the hurricane: elaborate wrought iron, ethereal churches, sprawling plantations on the outskirts (including one, Houmas House, where “Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte” was filmed).

Then there’s the food, an essential component whenever lovers get together. Creole and Cajun cuisine, from rich cream sauces to spices that can shoot steam from your ears, dominate, but the French influences extend all the way to the café au lait and beignets. And is there anything more romantic than a boat ride along the Mighty Mississip?

So yes, New Orleans is a great party town for solos, but we love to go there as pairs. After all, even couples know how to party.

— Arnold Wayne Jones

 


BEST AIRLINE
American Airlines
Corporate headquarters: 4333 Amon Carter Blvd., Fort Worth, Texas.
817-963-1234, 800-321-2121
Mon.-Sat. 24 hrs.
aa.com or American Airlines Rainbow

 


BEST NATIONAL ONLINE TRAVEL SITE
Travelocity
Corporate headquarters: 3150 Sabre Drive, Southlake, Texas.
888-872-8356
Sun.-Sat. 24 hrs.
Travelocity.com

BEST LOCAL ONLINE TRAVEL SITE
Best Gay Cruises
P.O. Box 59994, Dallas.
972-241-2000
Mon.-Fri. 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
BestGayCruises.com


BEST BUDGET HOTEL CHAIN
La Quinta
Corporate headquarters: 909 Hidden Ridge, Suite 600, Irving, Texas.
800-642-4271
Sun.-Sat. 24 hrs.
LQ.com


BEST LUXURY HOTEL CHAIN
Hilton Hotels
Eight hotels in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
800-774-1500
Sun.-Sat. 24 hrs.
Hilton.com


BEST DALLAS HOTEL
W Dallas-Victory
2440 Victory Park Lane, Dallas.
888-625-5144
Sun.-Sat. 24 hrs.
WHotels.com/Dallas


BEST AIRPORT SHUTTLE SERVICE
SuperShuttle
SuperShuttle local office: 3010 N. Airfield Drive, Suite 100, DFW Airport, Texas.
With service to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, Dallas Love Field and Fort Worth Meacham International Airport.
800-258-3826
Sun.-Sat. 24 hrs.
SuperShuttle.com

BEST WEEKEND GETAWAY
Rainbow Ranch
1662 Limestone County Road 800, Groesbeck, Texas.
888-875-7596
Sun.-Thu. 8 a.m.-8 p.m.,
Fri.-Sat. 8 a.m.-10 p.m.
RainbowRanch.net

BEST LOCAL TOURIST DESTINATION
Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza
411 Elm St., Suite 120.
214-747-6660
Tue.-Sun. 10 a.m.-6 p.m.,
Mon. noon-6 p.m.
JFK.org

BEST LOCAL TOURIST TRAP
West End Historical District
214-741-7180
DallasWestEnd.org

BEST VACATION SPOT TO GET LAID
Palm Springs, Calif.
Palm Springs tourism bureau:
Palm-Springs.org


BEST EXOTIC DESTINATION
Hawaii
Official tourism site: GoHawaii.com

‘GET ME OUT OF HERE!’ DESTINATION
Jamaica
Visitor Web site: ComeToJamaica.com

These articles appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 21, 2008

—  admin