GOP Lawmakers Rap HUD: Possible Drug Tolerance in AIDS Housing Policy at Issue
Wetzstein, Cheryl, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)
House Republicans yesterday criticized the Clinton administration for its reported handling of a federally funded housing program for AIDS sufferers.
The Salvation Army sought to win a multimillion-dollar contract to run a Los Angeles residential program for AIDS patients, but the organization was rejected because it would not condone on-site use of illegal drugs as apparently requested, The Washington Post reported yesterday.
This "reveals yet another instance where the Clinton administration has adopted a soft-headed and permissive position with respect to drug use," Rep. Dick Armey, Texas Republican, said in a letter to House members yesterday.
It is "outrageous for a federal agency to condone illegal drug use as well as to deny federal funds to principled charitable organizations like the Salvation Army that believe that illegal drug use is wrong and should never be condoned," Mr. Armey said.
Rep. Rick Lazio, New York Republican and chairman of the House Banking and Financial Services subcommittee on housing and community opportunity, will ask Henry G. Cisneros, secretary of Housing and Urban Development, for details on HUD policy on the AIDS housing program, Mr. Lazio's counsel said.
Officials in Los Angeles and at HUD said the AIDS housing program was neither approved nor funded, and that illegal drug use would not be tolerated.
"We have a clear zero-tolerance policy for all HUD housing," said Jon Cowan, an acting assistant secretary at HUD. "This Los Angeles program is under review, and if they are not in compliance with HUD's zero-tolerance policy, they will have their funding revoked immediately."
"It is the city's policy neither to condone or allow illegal drug use on the site of publicly funded facilities," said Noelia Rodriguez, spokesman for Los Angeles Mayor Richard J. …