Bridgeport, CT – Congressman Jim Himes (CT-4) today announced $50,000 in federal funding for Bridgeport’s Mount Aery Baptist Church’s HIV prevention program. These critical funds will be used to make the program more efficient and effective in preventing and reducing HIV/AIDS and substance abuse.

“Mount Aery Baptist Church has played a vital role in our community by raising awareness and providing education on HIV prevention and treatment,” said Congressman Himes. “We must continue to work to reduce substance abuse by promoting safe, healthy behaviors to our nation’s youth, and to adults. These funds will provide much needed support to Mount Aery’s initiative.”

The Ashe HIV Faith Project offers community workshops in the area of HIV/AIDS awareness and substance abuse in the greater Bridgeport area. These workshops provide an opportunity to raise awareness about the impact of the disease in communities of color. Mt. Aery’s main goal is to ensure residents utilize existing HIV testing services and learn their HIV status. Clients are then referred to appropriate services for follow up.

 “We are excited to have been chosen as 1 of 31 grantees across the country for the 2010 grant award of the Faith & Community Based Support Initiative,” said Dr. Anthony L. Bennett, Pastor at Mount Aery Baptist Church. “We are looking forward to addressing HIV/AIDS and substance abuse in collaboration with our faith based and community partners. Our staff is in place and ready to serve.”

Mount Aery was the only organization in Connecticut to receive funding from The Center for Substance Abuse Prevention Faith & Community Based Support Initiative (FCBSI). FCBSI seeks to provide mini subcontracts to 32 faith- and community-based organizations that have existing HIV or substance abuse prevention programs. By strengthening collaboration among faith -and community-based organizations, federal, state, and local governments, the initiative seeks to reduce substance abuse among youth, promote the use of HIV testing services, and decrease the impact of substance abuse on communities of color through education, prevention, and awareness.