Catholic Charities Community Services recently received two grants, which represented a total of $718,050 in annual program support, for a period of five years beginning July 1, from the New York State Department of Health AIDS Institute.

The grant will increase the level of existing housing and supportive services offered to individuals with HIV/AIDS. Enhanced services will be offered in Monroe, Chemung, Livingston, Ontario, Skyler, Seneca, Steuben, Yates and Wayne counties.

“Stable housing is critical to the health and well-being of people who are living with HIV,” said Phyllis McElligott, director of supportive services. “This is an incredible opportunity for us to offer some very important services that are greatly needed by our HIV/AIDS community. The services being offered include housing retention, long term rental subsidies, emergency rent and utility assistance, short term rental assistance and employment programs to help individuals become self-sustaining. We anticipate serving 240 individuals annually.”

Independent living skills will be offered to help consumers with budgeting and financing as they move toward a more independent lifestyle. The new program at Catholic Charities Community Services will be called HomeSourse and is specifically designed to address the need to support ownership of understanding personal health, retaining appropriate housing and meeting career and educational goals for the HIV/AIDS population.

There is an average of 3,000 new HIV/AIDS cases identified in New York state each year. Gov. Mario Cuomo is pushing to end the epidemic by 2020, with a goal to reduce that number to 750 annually.

“This investment will ensure that those already affected by HIV/AIDS will get the stabilizing services they need,” says Lori VanAuken, executive director at Catholic Charities Community Services.