As a part of annual reporting, Housing for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) grantees are required to report unmet housing need for their jurisdiction’s coverage area. In FY 2013 - FY 2014 annual performance reports, formula grantees reported providing housing assistance to an estimated 51,264 households through HOPWA and an additional 31,527 households through leveraged housing resources. Even with this good work, through local community planning efforts, such as the Consolidated Plan, grantees continue to estimate 138,427 households nationally living with and affected by HIV/AIDS are still in need of housing assistance.
Although this unmet need is high, in conversations with grantees and HIV/AIDS advocates, this estimate unfortunately may not reflect the real unmet need. Current estimates are generated by local communities through a variety of methodologies based on currently available local data. Communities’ estimates of unmet housing need when compared to national estimates are uneven and in some communities, the figure reported varies considerably from one reporting period to another. For example, the National AIDS Housing Coalition and other housing advocates have long reported that up to 50 percent of People Living With HIV/AIDS (PLHWA) will experience a housing crisis in their lifetime. With over 1.1 million individuals living with HIV/AIDS, housing need could easily effect over 500,000 individuals.
In the coming weeks, HUD’s Office of HIV/AIDS Housing will expand the conversation and solicit the interest of grantees to participate in a small cohort working with the office and HOPWA technical assistance providers to develop a framework toward implementation of a standard methodology for calculating unmet housing needs. The goal of these efforts is to establish a national benchmark of unmet housing need to measure local and national progress. Important to this process is the establishment of a consistent, accurate, and easy process to measure and track unmet housing need both on a local and national level.
In working with HOPWA grantees and community stakeholders, HUD will consider current planning efforts and strategies in developing a methodology. Also, HUD will focus on available data such as persons living with HIV/AIDS, poverty, housing cost, and rate of homelessness to more accurately reflect the unmet housing need along the HIV Care Continuum.
For more information and/or to submit your community’s interest in joining the cohort working group, please contact Eric Pfeifer, Management Analyst, Office of HIV/AIDS Housing, at Eric.M.Pfeifer@hud.gov.