The trends and statistics demonstrate the need for housing:
- It is estimated that 800,000 to 900,000 Americans are living with HIV and AIDS, and that number continues to grow (source: The Center for Disease Control)
- Persons living with HIV or AIDS have a disproportionate incidence of homelessness due to compounding factors, such as increased medical costs, limited ability to keep work due to AIDS, and histories of homelessness, mental illness, and substance abuse
- Research has shown that stable housing promotes improved health status, sobriety or decreased use of nonprescription drugs, and a return for some persons with AIDS to productive work and social activities
- There were almost 3,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in Southwestern Pennsylvania in 2003 (source: Southwestern Pennsylvania AIDS Planning Coalition)
- In June 2003, almost 2,200 individuals were homeless in Allegheny County (source: Point In Time study conducted by Allegheny County)
- Recent studies confirm that persons living with HIV/AIDS must have stable housing to access comprehensive health care and adhere to complex HIV/AIDS drug therapies and other supportive services
- The availability of housing with the services to care and treat high risk HIV+ individuals is very limited
- There is a significant lack of safe and affordable housing for those living in poverty in Allegheny County.
- In our region, the city and county (public) housing authorities do not accept residents with criminal histories.
- Many of the factors that increased our clients’ risk for HIV infection also impact their abilities to navigate the social service and public entitlement systems, as well as to maintain adherence. These challenges include poverty, mental health issues, and addictions. Many of our target clients are individuals who exhibit behavior that is simply not tolerated by other programs. Our clients have poor communication skills, may act out against a system they believe has failed them, and have learned to do whatever it takes to secure the resources they need to survive
- There are significant correlations between homelessness and HIV status:
- Providing housing reduces the need to engage in high risk behaviors, thus decreasing HIV transmission
- It is nearly impossible to maintain adherence when homeless or in unstable housing.
- The housing first model is a cost-effective approach to providing care. (A 1992 survey of HUD funded permanent housing projects indicated that the average yearly cost to provide housing and supportive services to a disabled homeless client was $16,537. Adjusting for inflation, in 2007 these same services would cost at least $25,932 in today’s dollars
- 38 people were referred to the open door in 9 months last year, and the facility has room to house only 14