The City Council Budget Committee Nov. 17 voted to add $500,000 to Mayor Daley's initial $100,000 increase for city AIDS funding in the next fiscal year.
Daley supported the increase, according to Greg Harris, chief of staff for Ald. Mary Ann Smith.
More importantly, the Mayor and the aldermen have agreed on three priorities for funding increases if additional revenues become available. Harris said those priorities, in order of importance, are: HIV; at-risk youth; and programs for ex-offenders returning to society.
The initial goal was a $1 million increase. A letter-writing and picketing campaign was spearheaded by the AIDS Foundation of Chicago to fight for the funds.
"We are very pleased," said AFC's David Munar. "The need is absolutely there. In these hard budget times, we think it is really essential that HIV prevention receives this increase. We are disappointed it is not $1 million, but we know this will be put to good use."
Munar said AFC is going to "keep working closely with City Council members, making sure they understand the impact of AIDS on their communities. We will be monitoring the budget."
A group of 39 aldermen - led by Ald. Tom Tunney (44th Ward), Ed Smith (28th Ward), and Walter Burnett, Jr. (27th Ward)-introduced an ordinance at the Nov. 5 City Council meeting to increase HIV prevention funding by $1 million.
Daley's initial budget had $3.7 million for HIV prevention and care, just a $100,000 increase over 2003 spending levels.
AFC is still working on state AIDS funding. www.aidschicago.org/advocacy/know_your_officials.php.
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