, a Waukesha-based nonprofit organization that provides supervised housing for people living with HIV/AIDS, said it could close if it doesn’t find a new funding source.
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Richard's Place operates two houses in Waukesha.[/caption]
The organization, which operates two Waukesha homes under the auspices of the Waukesha Housing Authority, said the funding shortfall was prompted by the loss of its U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development funding.
The organization needs $100,000 to continue operations through 2019, said Corrie Fulwiler, executive director of Richard’s Place.
Richard’s Place provides permanent housing, transitional housing and case management services for individuals affected by HIV/AIDS. Its transitional housing program, which helps individuals who are able to live on their own, will close this month, when the organization’s HUD transitional services grant expires. The remainder of the organization's HUD funding expires July 31.
“We are searching for financial support to keep the permanent housing open,” Fulwiler said. “These are residents unable to live in other circumstances. I don’t know where they will go if we have to close.”
The organization was founded in 1996, and launched its first house two years later with HUD grant funding and support from the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation, The Elton John AIDS Foundation, The Jane and Lloyd Pettit Foundation and the Stackner Foundation.
The Wisconsin Balance of State Continuum of Care – a coalition of providers that support the homeless population – removed Richard's Place from its consolidated funding process in 2018. Prior to that, Richard's Place was under monitoring by HUD about a year, during which it needed to meet certain metrics.
"After a year of monitoring, the agency wasn't able to sufficiently demonstrate it met the basic federal requirements for maintaining that funding," said Carrie Poser, director of the Wisconsin Balance of State Continuum of Care.
Richard's Place attributed its funding challenges to a 2016 change in rules governing how Wisconsin Balance of State Continuum of Care members should admit new clients into their programs, which required members to contact individuals from a large general ranked list when they have openings.
The change meant Richard's Place had to first contact many people who didn’t have AIDS or HIV and were not eligible for its housing, the organization said.
“We get referrals from hospitals about HIV patients, and are unable to take them because they are ‘scored’ lower than others on the contact list,” Fulwiler said. “We’ve wasted huge amounts of resources seeking out people we know don’t qualify for our services.”
Richard’s Place sought an exemption in 2017 from the ranked list procedures.
HUD denied an appeal filed by Richard’s Place in February.
“This experience has been beyond frustrating,” Fulwiler said. “Worse, though, is knowing people are suffering whom we could have helped. Our organization might disappear after 21 years. The need for these services never will.”