HIVer Susan Howe, 60, is rowdier than
most retired nurses: The minister’s daughter is trying to save
Pittsburgh’s endangered Housing Opportunities for PWAs (HOPWA), the
agency that helps her pay rent. She’s petitioning legislators, and in
October, she’ll march on Washington in the Campaign to End AIDS (C2EA;
visit www.endaidsnow.org). If money is tight, Howe says fight.
Why are you marching? Since I’m an AIDS patient, how can I not? We shouldn’t be cutting PWA housing to run a war.
How would housing cuts affect you? If Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Penn.) cuts HOPWA funding as proposed, I and many Pittsburgh AIDS patients will be in the streets.
Can you afford to get to the march? On
supplemental security income (SSI), I get $579 a month and Medicaid.
I’ll join the planned cross-country caravan or drive up by myself.
How can poor folks get to DC? Everyone
lives in a federally funded Ryan White region; you could ask your local
coalition for funding. Beyond that, people should ask local AIDS
service organizations, corporations and churches to fund their trip.
How have you won HIVer rights? We
won housing priority for PWAs by repeatedly writing letters and
embarrassing authorities into doing the right thing. I present myself
so that I can’t be dismissed. Other advocates call me the bulldog.