Obama Requests $542 Million In Housing Aid for Drug Addicts

Edwin Mora | August 9, 2012 | 5:20pm EDT
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HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan. (AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) -- President Barack Obama has requested over half-a-billion dollars for Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) programs that provide housing assistance to homeless or HIV-positive people in drug treatment.

For the Fiscal Year 2013 National Drug Control budget, Obama has requested $25.6 billion, including $542.4 million to fund HUD programs that provide housing to individuals in drug treatment, according to the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), which is charged with developing that budget.

According to the ONDCP, the requested FY 2013 budget will “reduce drug use and its consequences in the United States.” (The fiscal year 2013 runs from Oct. 1, 2012 to Sept. 30, 2013.)

The $542.4 million in drug control funding for HUD marks an estimated 18 percent increase of $96.4 million over the FY 2012 enacted level of $446 million.

Specifically, the nearly half-billion dollars in FY 2013 taxpayer-funds will be used to support programs that provide housing assistance under the Community Planning and Development Program to people with AIDS and homeless persons, a HUD spokesperson explained in an e-mail to CNSNews.com.

The drug control funding for HUD is used by the Community Planning and Development Program component to support, specifically, two housing assistance initiatives: The Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) and the Continuum of Care-homeless assistance programs, Jereon Brown, a HUD spokesperson, told CNSNews.com.

President Barack Obama. (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari)

According to Brown, the HOPWA “provides critical resources that reduce homelessness and provide affordable housing for economically vulnerable households who are living with and are often disabled by HIV infection, poverty, and co-occurring chronic illnesses.”

The Continuum of Care programs for the homeless are “designed to provide housing and supportive services on a long-term basis for homeless persons with disabilities (primarily those with serious mental illness, chronic problems with alcohol and/or drugs, and AIDS or related diseases),” added the spokesperson. “With 28 percent of the persons using housing under these programs having a demonstrated substance-use disorder, the Strategy specifically calls for programs to prevent homelessness as a step toward recovery from addiction. Finding stable and affordable housing is among the most difficult barriers for individuals in recovery to overcome.”

HUD “provides housing for those in drug-treatment programs,” said Brown when CNSNews.com asked whether the department also funds drug treatment given to people receiving assistance under HOPWA and Continuum of Care.

The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) is charged with developing the National Drug Control Budget, which is aimed at fighting the war against drugs in the United States through treatment and enforcement. The ONCDP represents the executive branch’s drug control policies.

In a July 6 report on the president’s latest drug control strategy, the non-partisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) highlighted that, “ONDCP provides advice and government-wide oversight of drug programs and is responsible for coordinating drug control activities, including federal drug abuse prevention and treatment programs, and related funding across the federal government.”

(AP Photo)

The “ONDCP is required annually to develop the National Drug Control Strategy (Strategy), which sets forth a plan to reduce illicit drug use through prevention, treatment, and law enforcement programs, and to develop a Drug Control Budget for implementing the Strategy,” stated the GAO.

Most of the drug control funding for federal drug interdiction, enforcement, treatment, and prevention programs are handled by the Department of Heath and Human Services, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Education.

In its FY 2013 Drug Control Budget request, the White House is requesting about $9.2 billion for treatment, $1.4 billion for prevention, $9.4 billion for domestic law enforcement, $3.7 billion for interdiction, and $1.2 billion for international efforts.

According to the latest federal data, the economic impact that illegal drug use has on the United States, including the cost of crime, health care, and loss of productivity, was estimated to be at more than $193 billion in 2007.

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