Malveaux says that, last year, the HOPWA committee allocated almost $5 million for "shallow subsidies," but then discovered that nearly $3 million of that had gone unspent - clients were either too poor or too rich to qualify for the $100-per-month stipend. That's when she commissioned the Housing Survey to find out what had gone wrong. "We didn't want to put our money prematurely into programs until we had assessed how people's needs were changing."
Malveaux broke down the March 1998 budget (which shows $12.5 in "unencumbered funds") to demonstrate that, at the time of the controller's report the following month, $3.6 million was in the process of being approved for support services. That wasn't accounted for in the controller's report because, until the City Council approves allocations, the federal government "doesn't draw down the money." In addition, $950,000 had been allocated for the development of San Pedro House, an AIDS-dedicated home, and an additional $220,000 was allocated to a study to measure the impact of the HOPWA program. A total of $647,000 went into administering HOPWA (the city got $272,000, and participating agencies received $347,000).
That leaves $7.1 currently as "unencumbered funds," $2 million of which has since gone into the "shallow subsidy," with an additional $1.3 million put into developing AIDS-dedicated units, Malveaux says. But that means that almost $5 million is still sitting around at the moment, unused, although it is earmarked for long-term assistance.
"There is no question that some of the money was not put into operation fast enough," Malveaux concedes. "I am not saying we always run perfectly. But we try to be diligent." That's not enough for HOPWA's critics at the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. "They are playing with millions," says Miki Jackson, a consultant with the foundation. "Can you imagine that in the midst of all this scandal, they have no spreadsheet?"