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Bush aiming to expand AIDS housing subsidies

WASHINGTON (AP) — Nearly 50,000 people with AIDS in cities like Los Angeles and New York get government help paying their rent. Not so for those in towns like Anchorage, Fargo and Wichita.

President Bush wants to expand the housing program started in 1992, when his father was president.

The recommendation was viewed by some as positive gesture to gay rights activists, who have been jittery about the new Republican president. Their pleasure was tempered with concern that the policy change was at odds with what they requested.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development is spending about $258 million this year on the AIDS housing subsidies, which help poor people who have had trouble finding a place to live. The president had been asked to increase that to $300 million, with most of the new money going to communities that already have programs.