$1.2 million secured for HIV/AIDS housing

The project will help those with incomes below poverty level and worsening health.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 4:55 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

COLUMBIA- HIV/AIDS patients in central Missouri having trouble finding housing will have more options in a year.

The Waterbrook Place project, sponsored by the Regional AIDS Interfaith Network in Columbia, secured the $1.2 million needed for three buildings at Garth Avenue and Worley Street.

Construction is scheduled to start sometime in September or October after the City Council approved the last piece of funding earlier this month, said Tom Lata, community development coordinator of the city Planning and Development Department.

RAIN, a nonprofit organization that provides social services to people involved with sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV, will receive $87,000 from U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development through the city. Other funding comes from Missouri Housing Development Commission and the Federal Home Loan Bank.

Mindy Mulkey, RAIN’s executive director, said the exact starting date has yet to be decided, but that she expects construction to be finished by fall 2008. The buildings, including six one-bedroom units and two two-bedroom units will be a combined 7,160 square feet on two lots. Tenants will pay an average of $120 for rent and utilities. The remaining cost will be covered by HUD’s rental assistance.

RAIN will deal with apartment applications on a case-by-case approach.

“Applicants will be treated on a first-come, first-served basis,” Mulkey said. “We base our decisions on their income level, health status and their need for proper housing.”

The project is meant to help people whose income falls below the federal poverty level and those with worsening health. However, people who have been recently diagnosed will also be considered.

At last count, 193 people with HIV lived in Boone County, according to 2006 data from the Missouri Department of Health. In a 2002 study, RAIN found many people with HIV/AIDS have trouble finding a home because of their lower incomes.

Last year, RAIN finished refurbishing a four-plex it bought on Stone Street for its clients on federal assistance. The organization also offers other support services such as case management as well as medical and mental counseling.

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