AIDS Outreach Center has been awarded $2,500,000 by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to implement a new project called “Housing First” in Tarrant County. AOC learned of the award on Friday, June 28.

“AIDS Outreach Center is truly excited and honored to receive this meaningful housing award at a time when addressing homelessness and housing stability for displaced people living with HIV is so important yet so challenging,” said AOC Executive Director Kelly Allen Gray. “This opportunity serves as a significant milestone for AOC as we continue our efforts towards ending the HIV epidemic in Tarrant County and North Texas. This award supports our vision that HIV stops with us.”

An AOC press release announcing the grant noted that as a Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS — HOPWA — program, AOC’s Housing First initiative will contribute to the efforts of the National AIDS Strategy and the End the HIV Epidemic program and will serve as a Special Projects of National Significance Grant Model for HOPWA.

The award to AOC was one of 11 awards totaling $26 million in Housing Interventions to End the HIV Epidemic program funding. Grantees receive a one-time award to fund housing assistance and supportive services for eligible individuals and families, coordination and planning activities, grants management and administration.

ç made the announcement alongside local leaders from Volunteers of America in Los Angeles.

“HUD is addressing homelessness and housing instability for the populations most impacted by the HIV epidemic,” said HUD Acting Secretary Adrianne Todman. “This funding will provide grantees and their stakeholders the opportunity to complement local efforts to end the HIV epidemic.”

The Housing Interventions to End the HIV Epidemic program is part of the Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS. But unlike the majority of HOPWA funding, which is distributed through annual formula allocations, HINT is a competitive award aimed at promoting best practices in the field.

Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary McFadden said “Earlier this year, HUD provided $455 million to 130 grantees through the HOPWA program to connect people with HIV/AIDS to housing and support. The awards announced today allow communities to continue driving forward best practices and sharing successes with the field.”

Each awarded project will:

• Use Housing First principles to provide housing and services to low-income people with HIV and their families.

• Align with new or existing local initiatives to end the HIV epidemic by promoting housing as a key strategy.

• Improve use of available community resources and coordination among local housing and service providers.

• Increase the amount of quality data collected and used for decision making with an emphasis on stable housing, positive health outcomes and equity.

• Assess and document replicable practices that ensure equitable access and cultural humility in providing housing and services for populations of people with HIV experiencing service gaps.

• Prioritize sustainable, effective and equitable approaches to providing housing and services to people with HIV and their families that can be continued past the funded project’s period of performance.

By the end of the grant period, each grantee will create a HOPWA Special Projects of National Significance Grant Model to “showcase effective practices and lessons learned in using housing to combat the HIV epidemic. These models will be shared publicly, and the insights gained will help shape national and community policies and actions,” according to a HUD press release.

AOC’s background

The mission of AIDS Outreach Center is to serve people living with or at risk for HIV with dignity and respect, the press release said, explaining that AOC began in 1986 as a grassroots organization to respond to the HIV epidemic. And for more than 30 years since then, AOC has provided critical assistance to people living with HIV and their families.

Each year, AOC’s 44 staff members and more than 250 volunteers provide services and education to nearly 1,900 people living with HIV and prevention services to more than 4,000 people in the community. “AOC is proud of its commitment to the delivery of a full continuum of services, including outreach and referral services, peer advocacy, nutrition programs, food pantry, medical and non-medical case management, dental care, health insurance premium and co-pay assistance, mental health counseling and support groups designed to empower community members living with HIV.

Today, AOC is the largest non-profit AIDS service organization serving Tarrant, Erath, Johnson, Palo Pinto, Parker, Hood, Somerville and Wise counties in the fight against HIV. For more information visit

— Tammye Nash