6 HOUSTON VOICE / MARCH 3, 1995
Budget ax looms over critical AIDS programs
(Continued from Page 1)
The current-year cuts were part of an
effort by GOP lawmakers to trim $17.5
billion from this year's budget allocations.
The announcement of the AIDS moves
came even as the U.S. Department of
Health and Human Services and Congress members from the Ryan White cities were preparing to announce current year grants—and, ironically, as
the first hearings for reauthorization
of the five-year-old CARE Act were getting underway.
In a statement announcing a $4.5 million grant for Harris County author-
cuts in AIDS funding would hurt the
Houston area badly. "And, though
there is a very mean-spiriled movement by some opponents in ihe House to
slash funding for various AIDS programs, I am prepared to fight their
efforts," she stated. 'AIDS is an epi
demic.it can affect anyone, rich o
poor, black or white, gay or straight
The federal government cannot
abdicate its life-preserving respon
sibility that it acknowledged whet
the Ryan White Act was passed in 1990.'
Connnie Merhley of the Harris
County Health Department's HIV
Services Division, confirmed that
the proposed cuts could threaten some
currenl year funds under Ryan White.
However, she said she did not know specifically is or how Houston's percentage would be affected. "We're
deeply concerned," said Merhley.
who said local administrators at first
believed the 1995 funds were safe.
The elimination of HOPWA. Merhley said, "will be devastating" for
local organizations involved in AIDS
Tom Combs, who oversees AIDS housing programs for the city of Houston
Department of Planing and Community Development, said HOPWA has
been the key source of funding for pro
grams providing both housing assistance and rent/financial assistance in
the Houston area. "It's my understanding that we are secure through
1995," Combs said; however, he
noted, he is now working on pulling
together a plan to deal with the likelihood that HOPWA will ultimately be
rolled into a block grant with other housing programs. "Our challenge will be
to develop a plan to make sure that the
AIDS need is addressed," he said.
"When the funds come to the city (as a
block grant), we're lumped together
with everyone else.. .and everyone
will also be vying for a smaller piece of
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Fein 2 Fern to perform at
free 'Pride Fest' concert
The Pride Committee of Houston is
excitedly finalizing arrangements
for the climax events of its 1995 Houston Gay and Lesbian Pride Week, members reported this week. Among the most
recent announcements: dance music
divas "Fern 2 Fern" will headline a tree
concert at "Pride Fest "95." a festival to be held in Montrose immediately following the Pride Parade.
The 1995 Houston Gay and Lesbian
Pride Parade will be held on Sunday,
June 25. 1995. The parade will begin at
2:00 p.m. and will travel down Westheimer. Following the parade, the Pride
Committee will be hosting "Pride
Test '95." This event will be open to the
public. At this time, the recording art
ists "Fern 2 Fern" are confirmed perform at the free concert, and another
well known artist is expected to sign a
contract to perform in the next few
days, according to PCOH.
Pride Committee of Houston is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization whose
purpose is to coordinate and promote
events which celebrate the diversity, unit and history of the lesbian/
gay community. It mission statement: "We do not discriminate on the
basis of color, gender or gender Ide*
tification, the physically challenged or differently abled or on the
basis of age. We are here to commemorate, educate and celebrate our pride
and to create a path towards a positive
future for all humanity not to exclude
any segments of who we are as a people."
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