2022: The Year In Review
As ALRP enters its 40th year of service to the HIV community, we reflect on our history with pride and appreciation of the legal community’s caring response to the AIDS epidemic. We could not do all that we do without the support of our Panel Attorneys, dedicated staff, and generous donors and volunteers.
Right now, more than 16,000 people in San Francisco are living with HIV. While the legal needs of ALRP’s clients have changed since our founding in 1983, ALRP has worked to meet those new challenges. Just last year, ALRP handled over 2,269 cases for over 1,300 clients living with HIV. We held 21 trainings for service providers and 33 educational presentations for clients. We provided 11 MCLE trainings for 287 attorneys and recruited 14 new attorneys to the Panel.
Our clients are living much longer than we ever might have imagined in the early years of the epidemic. But they are living with decades of trauma, the loss of their familial connections, and with the stress of extreme poverty. Almost 60% of our clients are people of color, 85% are LGBTQ, and over 90% are living with very low incomes.
ALRP’s services often have a direct impact on our clients’ lives. With over 75% of people living with HIV in San Francisco at risk of homelessness, ALRP has developed a robust eviction defense practice.
The ALRP Team at the Annual Reception in October 2022
A recent success story that exemplifies our work:
“Peter” was served with an eviction lawsuit after he was unable to pay his rent due to a job loss stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. A former substitute teacher in San Francisco, Peter faced the loss of his 17-year tenancy after losing his job and having no income to pay for his rent.
When Peter sought assistance from ALRP, we immediately began advocating for him, helping Peter to apply for benefits and a housing subsidy that would allow him to afford his rent while he searched for new employment. We also secured a settlement agreement that allowed Peter to stay in his home. With ALRP’s help, Peter was able to clear any outstanding balance with his landlord through rental assistance programs. Peter now feels confident returning to the job market with secure housing.
More than 10% of ALRP’s legal work
now involves immigration cases.
Being granted asylum in the U.S. is life changing. One’s chances of obtaining asylum are difficult to predict, and it is essential to have a good attorney by your side. We want to take a moment to share a recent ALRP success with you:
Our client “Fernando”, originally from El Salvador, came to us for assistance with his asylum case as a HIV-positive, bisexual man fleeing persecution in his home country. Under asylum law, a foreign national must apply for asylum within one year of arriving in the U.S.—a challenging requirement for many. They may still be eligible, however, if they can demonstrate a changed circumstance which materially affects their eligibility for asylum. Though Fernando had been in the United States for over one year, with our help he was successfully able to prove a qualifying changed circumstance—his recent HIV diagnosis—and he was ultimately granted asylum.
ALRP at 40
Looking ahead, we are already planning for the observance of ALRP’s 40th anniversary. It is always our goal to bring both meaning and purpose to our constituents as we seek to keep those living with HIV housed, insured, healthy, and safe.
There is a unique opportunity to take a pause in our daily work and recognize that our success is the result of generations of leadership, volunteerism, and dedication to the most vulnerable in our community — which is as true today as it was in 1983. Please stay tuned for more opportunities to be involved in our work during the observance of this landmark year.
We are especially grateful for our most generous supporters, many of whom have been in the fight with us against HIV for decades and share in our commitment. ALRP was fortunate to benefit from the generous support of leading Bay Area Law firms, corporate partners like Gilead Sciences, AIDS Walk SF, Bay Area Physicians for Human Rights, and the Grass Roots Gay Rights Foundation who host the annual Real BAD event.
Since our founding in 1983, more than 95,000 civil legal matters for people with HIV/AIDS have been handled with care, compassion, and expertise. I hope you will take a moment to reflect on the successes that you make possible and find a way you can join us for some of the events we are planning this year.
|From the heart,
Bill Hirsh, Esq.