The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development renewed the Frannie Peabody Center’s grant of $1,406,578 over three years, which will help fund its work of housing and assisting people living with HIV/AIDS.

The center has received the grant for the same amount since 2006, but the federal money has become more crucial, according to Katie Rutherford, director of programs at the center. The center provides tenant-based rental assistance to 41 households annually, along with supportive services to at least 110 households annually throughout Maine.

Rutherford said some of the biggest challenges the organization faces are an extremely low vacancy rate in affordable housing and the rising cost of living. The funds will be used to offset the cost of living for individuals.

“Even with some units that meet the fair market rent restrictions set by Housing and Urban Development, we see a growing number of requirements such as first and last month’s rent, security deposit, application fee, and credit check,” Rutherford wrote in an email to the Press Herald. “Many financial resources are not able to cover the totality of requirements, making it extremely difficult for people to achieve stable housing – a crucial component of overall health.”

In addition to housing services, the center provides HIV prevention, behavioral health and case management services to over 400 people a year. It also administers over 500 HIV tests annually.

The center is one of 25 HIV/AIDS housing and assistance programs across the U.S. to receive the funding and is the only grant recipient in Maine. In a news release, HUD says the funding will assist more than 2,054 low-income persons living with HIV/AIDS and their families.

Rutherford said the grant will be used to help all people with HIV/AIDS in Maine.

The center receives additional funding from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Maine Office of Maine Care Services, United Way of Greater Portland and York County.

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