Atlanta City Council President Felicia Moore said she will make the city’s beleaguered HIV housing program and combatting high HIV rates her top LGBTQ priorities if elected mayor in November.
Moore, a longtime Atlanta City Council member, announced her campaign for mayor last month. She said the city faces a “critical situation” with the Housing Opportunities for People With AIDS (HOPWA) program and HIV rates that are among the highest in the country.
“I don’t think that we’re doing enough to make sure that people are really aware of the critical situation we’re in there. With the mayor’s office, we can help to heighten awareness around that and certainly work with partners in the community to make sure that that is known,” Moore said in a new episode of Podcast Q.
Moore wants to unseat Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, who has struggled to fix the HOPWA program. The city receives federal funds to disburse to scores of agencies across metro Atlanta that subsidize rent for low-income clients with HIV. But the city’s mismanagement of the program has a cascading effect leading to late payments, evictions and financial problems for partner agencies.
Moore said the city’s program lacks “transparency and accountability.”
“We shouldn’t have situations that keep reoccurring where providers are saying hey, you know, we’re in trouble, we’re waiting on money that we’re not getting,” Moore said.
“I’m about transparency and accountability. If you get to a point where you can’t provide what you need to provide for the housing, the people need to specifically know what’s going on. And even as an elected official, I can’t tell you what the specific hurdles or barriers have been to actually making sure this funding gets out,” she added.
Moore said her commitment to LGBTQ issues is drawn from her experience as a longtime council member, queer supporters and volunteers, and LGBTQ family members.
“I know the challenges of the community,” she said. “I care for people, period. I’m just a people person.”
During the Podcast Q interview, Moore also discussed a proposal by Council member Antonio Brown – the council’s only LGBTQ member – to create a new Department of Public Safety & Wellness to oversee police and non-emergency services, hiring a new police chief and police reform, and the fate of the Atlanta City Detention Center.
“He has a lot of good ideas and his proposal – many of them aren’t new and new to us. Many of these ideas are already on the table and right here today, maybe not in the format that he put them. And that’s why I want to run for mayor – because I want to be able to get it done,” Moore said.
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