Saturday, December 3, 2022 Dec 3, 2022
52° F Dallas, TX
Publications

HEALTH AIDS AND WELFARE: WHO’S RESPONSIBLE?

By Jeff Posey |

William Waybourn, president of the Dallas Gay Alliance, is mad again. This time it’s the city budget that burns him. He says he and the DGA have been negotiating for nine months with council members Craig Holcomb and Lori Palmer, whose districts encompass large numbers of gays, to provide funding for the Housing and AIDS/Financial Assistance Fund of the DGA. which helps people with AIDS pay their rent and utility bills. Waybourn thought he was going to get $126,000 from the city, but in the middle of September, he says, that money was denied. As a result, the assistance fund was canceled. As he often does, Waybourn blames the problem on what he calls “homophobia.”

The money was to have come from an amendment proposed by Palmer and Holcomb that would add almost $313,000 to the city’s AIDS-related budget (a 570 percent increase). But late in the budget amendment negotiations, City Attorney Analeslie Muncy ruled that it was unconstitutional under Texas law for the city to make what are essentially welfare payments-that is the responsibility of the county. The money that was slated to go to the DGA was returned to the genera] AIDS budget that will be administered by the county.

“We’re literally the only ones that got knocked out,” says Waybourn. “And we were the only agency that offered direct assistance. He says that the assistance fund, which had helped 512 people during the last year at a cost of about $100,000, kept people out of the hospital and off the welfare roles. “That saves the taxpayers a bundle of money,” he says.

Holcomb says he and Palmer operated in good faith, but simply didn’t know of the legal roadblock until late in the process. And Holcomb bristles when Wayboum accuses city officials of homophobia. “I can assure you that we have not now, nor have we ever acted in any way homophobic,” says Holcomb. He also says that Way-bourn and the DGA had only been in the negotiations for money the last few months, not since January when discussions began on the amendment and when Waybourn says he became involved. ’”William has a selective memory.” says Holcomb. “At the beginning he didn’t know if he wanted to be in on this or not.”

Related Articles

Publications

WHO’S COOKING

Meet the behind-the-scenes talent in Dallas’ top kitchens.
By D Magazine