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Meeting the Housing Needs of People in Your Community Living with HIV/AIDS: How Can Faith and Community Organizations Be Involved?

In recognition of World AIDS Day today, HUD Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships (CFBNP) sent out a message to their partners. Please find their message below:

Housing is a critical component of health, particularly for those with HIV/AIDS. HUD's Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDS (HOPWA) program recognizes the stabilizing role of housing as a platform to receive healthcare and services to help manage HIV and AIDS. Through this program and other resources, faith and community organizations can assist those living with HIV/AIDS to obtain housing, social services, and other resources to help them maintain quality of life with HIV/AIDS. On World AIDS Day (December 1) and all year, faith and community organizations play a vital role in connecting those living with HIV/AIDS to these critical resources. 

Background: Combating the Impact of HIV/AIDS

Studies have repeatedly demonstrated a link between access to safe, stable housing and access to medical care for HIV/AIDS. Currently, more than 1.2 million Americans are living with HIV, and as many as 50,000 people still become newly infected each year. Housing is a critical aspect of care for those living with the disease. The U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness notes that "stable, supportive housing is a cornerstone of HIV/AIDS treatment," and people experiencing homelessness are 16 times more likely to contract HIV than stably housed persons. Similarly, "Opening Doors", the Federal Strategy to Prevent and End Homelessness, recognizes that housing is a key structural intervention for individuals living with HIV/AIDS to improve health outcomes and reduce risk behaviors. This is especially important because it is estimated that 50% of individuals diagnosed with HIV will experience housing instability in their lifetime.

The National HIV/AIDS Strategy, released by President Obama in 2010 and updated in 2015, has served as a foundation for the country to come together in the fight against HIV. The strategy's vision is that the United States will become a place where new HIV infections are rare, and when they do occur, every person, regardless of age, gender, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, or socio-economic circumstance, will have unfettered access to high quality, life-extending care, free from stigma and discrimination. The National HIV/AIDS Strategy is not just a federal plan, it is a national plan and requires efforts at the national, state, Tribal, and local levels and across all sectors to achieve its goals.   

How Can Faith and Community Organizations Be Involved?

There are many ways faith and community organizations can be involved helping persons with HIV/AIDS find and maintain housing. Grant opportunities are announced through the HOPWA website and at Grants.gov. You can also connect with HOPWA grantees in your area by searching the HOPWA grantee locator.

Because HOPWA funds cannot be used for small appliances, hygiene products, and other items to help new residents feel settled, faith and community organizations can play a significant role in helping to provide these items. Just as important, faith and community organizations can offer emotional and social support to new residents: invite them into your faith community or community meetings to help them transition into new routines.

By searching for and connecting with HOPWA grantees in your community, you can help publicize resources and participate in national HIV awareness days to educate your community about HIV. Each month has different themes for HIV awareness days so you can set up an HIV awareness day that connects with your congregation members or clients. You can also connect to HOPWA's e-mail list or follow HOPWA on Twitter at @HUD_HOPWA.

View Action Items for Faith and Community Organizations for World AIDS Day - Day 1. A fact sheet on the HOPWA program is available, and a short video can be found on our website. You can also view a recent video message from HUD's senior leadership about World AIDS Day. The National HIV/AIDS Strategy: Updated to 2020 is a Federal government plan calling for a national response to reduce incidence of HIV, increase access to care and positive health outcomes, and reduce health disparities.

Finally, HUD Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships (CFBNP) serves as a resource center for faith and community organizations seeking to learn more about HUD programs. HUD CFBNP stands ready to help faith-based and community organizations, individuals, and others find more information about HUD's programs and answers to questions. For assistance, contact us at partnerships@hud.gov or 202-708-2404.

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