Ohio: Program Helps HIV Patients With Housing
June 10, 2005
An estimated 2,800 people in central Ohio had HIV/AIDS at the end of 2003. According to a survey coordinated by the Columbus AIDS Task Force and analyzed by AIDS Housing of Washington, most central Ohioans with HIV/AIDS cannot afford the $499 a month considered fair-market rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the area. The survey found that 17 percent of patients had spent at least one night in a shelter and 18 percent had slept outdoors.
The Central Ohio HIV/AIDS Housing Plan, released in late 2004 after a year of meeting and analysis, says about 500 patients in central Ohio need housing assistance. Nina Lewis, central Ohio's HIV housing coordinator, said the housing plan is the first since 1993 to provide a comprehensive look at the issue in the region. She said its focus is not on increased spending but rather improving collaboration among groups serving HIV patients.
The federal government sent the region $584,000 for HIV housing in fiscal 2004. The Columbus Health Department administers the funds, which come from the Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS program. Cleveland and Cincinnati also receive money from the program. About 150 patients benefit from the fund on any given day, Lewis said, adding, "Right now, "we could easily use another 100 [assisted-housing slots] -- at least."
In Licking County, which has the second-highest number of HIV-positive residents in central Ohio, people must work 75 hours a week at minimum wage to afford an average-priced one-bedroom apartment, according to Kristin McCloud, community services supervisor for the county's Coalition for Housing. For HIV patients, "housing is health care," McCloud said.
06.06.2005; Misti Crane
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.