September 28, 2012
Yesterday I received an email from a longtime Housing Works supporter who was concerned that shoppers who visit one of our twelve Thrift Shops wouldn't know exactly what "good works" we have provided or continue to provide for those struggling with homelessness or living with HIV/AIDS.
And he has a point, considering Housing Works has been a part of the fight against AIDS and the political lethargy to end the epidemic for nearly thirty years now, first as a part of Act-UP and now as one of the largest minority-focused AIDS organization in the country.
So there's a lot we can talk about. But one of the things I want to highlight that is how Housing Works supports women living with HIV/AIDS. The CDC reports that in 2009, women represented nearly 25% of all HIV diagnoses in the U.S. To put that in another way, "1 in 139 women will be diagnosed with an HIV infection."
And like their male counterparts, women of color are disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS, with over half (57%) of the new infections among black women, an infection rate 15 times greater than white women. And in New York, there is the highest number of women living with HIV/AIDS than any other state in the nation.
But there is hope. We provide women living with HIV/AIDS stable housing, a supportive community and above all, a chance to empower themselves. We use our businesses, such as our Thrift Shops, to directly fund a women's transitional housing program -- as well as a transgender transitional housing program, which provides 20 units of housing for women living with HIV/AIDS who are released from the correctional system and are in need of meals, counseling, and other critical services.
We also use the generosity of our donors to directly provide women living with HIV/AIDS with comprehensive primary care, including OB-GYN services, as well as dental services. And we also rely on the generosity of our members to expand our highly successful Job Training Program, which guarantees a full-time job at Housing Works-with benefits-upon graduation. This program is instrumental for helping our clients transition toward self-sufficiency.
Make no mistake: Housing Works will continue to help women who are living with HIV/AIDS and that continue to be one of our country's most vulnerable populations, and we hope you will continue to join us in our fight to end HIV/AIDS and homelessness.