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Mayor London Breed Announces City’s New HIV/AIDS Housing Plan and Goals

Multi-pronged approach consists of plans to increase housing subsidies and create additional affordable housing units for people living with HIV/AIDS

Mayor London N. Breed announced the City has published its HIV/AIDS Housing Five-Year Plan. The final plan is the result of four City departments, led by the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development (MOHCD), who have partnered to produce a path forward that ensures people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) receive quality housing services that support the best possible housing outcomes.

The goals of the five-year plan include maintaining current housing and facilities, increasing new housing units, increasing resources for subsidies, expanding access to resources, and improving the efficiency and quality of the housing and service delivery ecosystem. This plan would result in a total increase of the number of rental subsidies dedicated to PLWHA by 30% within the next 5 years, and expansion of the overall number of PLWHA served through MOHCD’s HIV housing service programs by 30%.

“San Francisco has been a national leader in our response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic and in our efforts to get to zero new infections, and we know part of our success in helping people live healthier lives is to ensure they have access to housing,” said Mayor Breed. “This plan is part of our commitment to strengthen housing stability and access for our most vulnerable residents, including those living with HIV/AIDS.”

“Stable housing is vital to the health of San Franciscans living with HIV/AIDS. The expansion of housing options for HIV-positive people proposed in this plan will save lives and move us closer to our Getting to Zero goals of no new HIV infections, no new HIV-related deaths and no HIV-related stigma,” said Supervisor Rafael Mandelman.

San Francisco is home to one of the largest communities of PLWHA in the nation, and it has been proven that providing housing stability to vulnerable communities results in improved health outcomes. The HIV/AIDS Housing Plan details how HIV housing services within San Francisco have evolved over the last few years; describes where services are progressing that improve housing systems, better meeting the needs of PLWHA; and highlights various goals and strategies the City is seeking to achieve and employ in order to improve access to housing services for PLWHA over the next five years.

“The plan gives us the framing and guidance needed to ensure that our office is responsive to the needs of residents living with HIV/AIDS,” said Eric Shaw, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development. “MOHCD will continue to approach this effort in a manner that is resident centered, and in collaboration with city agencies and community partners.”

“The HIV Housing Plan unites Medical Professionals, Community Based Organizations and Housing Partners,” said Dr. Monica Gandhi, Professor of Medicine, UCSF and Medical Director of Ward 86 and Erin Collins, LCSW, Ward 86 at San Francisco General Hospital. “The robust approach maximizes the care, advocacy, and coordination required to reduce stigma, increase prevention, and enhance engagement of ongoing treatment for PLWH.”

The City also recently announced the development teams for nine new 100% affordable housing sites, adding nearly 900 homes to MOHCD’s construction pipeline. Building and developing these new homes is a key pillar of the Mayor’s COVID-19 recovery strategy and will be crucial to revitalizing the City’s economy while addressing the community’s need for new housing. Each of the nine sites will have units available for referrals from the City’s Plus Housing list for low-income residents living with HIV with rents set at no more than 50% AMI ($1,166 for a studio, $1,333 for a one bedroom).

“In order for the City of San Francisco to meet our ambitious goals of Getting To Zero, we need to address the housing crisis for people living with HIV/AIDS,” said Bill Hirsh, Executive Director of the AIDS Legal Referral Panel. “We are pleased that this new award will significantly advance those goals by creating new affordable housing for people living with HIV. Housing is healthcare for people living with HIV.”

“As a pioneer in HIV/AIDS services dating back to the 1980s, Catholic Charities has been a part of and witness to the dramatic transformation of care for those living with HIV/AIDS in our community,” said Jilma L. Meneses, Catholic Charities Chief Executive Officer. “San Francisco’s new HIV/AIDS housing plan reflects the advances in care that now enable individuals to live independently with more freedom and better long-term outcomes.”

HUD’s Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) Program is the Federal funding source for most HIV housing services in San Francisco. HOPWA is transitioning to a formula-based funding model based on incidence of new HIV infection rather than the historical model based on cumulative AIDS cases. Due to San Francisco’s innovative HIV/AIDS healthcare programs that have led to the sustained decrease in the number of new HIV infections, the City will be looking to support ongoing programming by obtaining alternative funding. To view the full HIV/AIDS Housing Five-Year report, click here.


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Nine grantees have been selected for funding through the HIV Legal Services Fund. Making the announcement on World AIDS Day is the  HIV/AIDS Impact Project (formerly the AIDS Coordinating Committee), which is part of the Health & Human Rights Initiative run jointly by the American Bar Association Center for Human Rights and Civil Rights and Social Justice Section.

The HIV/AIDS Impact Project established the fund after it was named the recipient of a cy pres award to disburse approximately $1.2 million in unclaimed funds from the 2017 settlement agreement in Beckett v. Aetna, a class-action lawsuit in which policyholders taking HIV medications for treatment or prevention alleged privacy infringement by the Aetna insurance company.

The Project issued a request for proposals for grants from the fund of up to $150,000 each to enhance the availability of HIV legal services in underserved U.S. areas.   

 

The grant recipients are:

  • AIDS Legal Referral Panel (San Francisco)
  • Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy (North Carolina)
  • CrescentCare of Louisiana
  • Equality Ohio
  • JRI Health (Justice Resource Institute) (Needham, Massachusetts)
  • Legal Council for Health Justice (Chicago)
  • Legal Services of Alabama
  • Manhattan Legal Services (New York City)
  • Nevada Legal Services

 

“The HIV/AIDS Impact Project was honored to have been entrusted by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania to disburse the Beckett v. Aetna cy pres funds to HIV legal services providers in the United States, all of which do tremendous work with minimal resources,” said Margaret Drew, chair of the Project and associate professor of law at the University of Massachusetts. “The HIV Legal Services Fund established by the Project for this purpose received more than two dozen proposals, all of them impressive, and we wrestled mightily to arrive at a final roster of grantees. The ones selected represent regional and other measures of diversity in reaching underserved populations with HIV legal services and policy advocacy.”

ABA President Patricia Lee Refo said: “I’m proud of the hard work of the HIV/AIDS Impact Project in selecting these superb organizations for funding, and I echo Professor Drew’s appreciation to the district court for this important opportunity.” She added, “Since 1987, when the ABA established the AIDS Coordinating Committee (now the Project) to identify, analyze and address legal issues bearing on the HIV/AIDS pandemic, it has been doing vital work to support HIV legal services providers and policy advocates at home and abroad. The HIV Legal Services Fund is but another manifestation of that longstanding commitment.

ALRP Executive Director Bill Hirsh commented: ” This grant will support ALRP”S Panel Attorney Recruitment and Training Program by expanding its capacity to recruit and educate attorneys locally. The funding will also allow us to provide training modules to support legal service programs serving people with HIV in underserved areas throughout the country.

Co-lead class counsel in Beckett v. Aetna are the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania; the Legal Action Center; and Berger Montague PC.  (Beckett v. Aetna, Inc., No. 2:17-cv-03864-JS (E.D. Pa.))

 

 

 


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