Dr. Ghourm's Forum
Getting a Place to Call Home, Part Two
"Housing is an issue that matters on a daily basis to thousands affected by HIV/AIDS. We at AIDS Survival Project recognize that safe, decent and affordable housing must be a part of our common response to the HIV epidemic."
In my March article, "Getting a Place to Call Home," I invited over twenty AIDS Service organizations who wanted to be included in this article to provide me with their program accomplishments, goals and requirements for their programs. Probably because of time constraints and the overwhelming demands on their time, they were unable to get back with me until recently. Because of this and my own busy schedule, I was unable to fulfill my promise of this second part until now.
As you remember, my article last month was about some of the other projects that I was involved with during the months of March and April. These included The Black Church Week of Prayer for the Healing of AIDS; The Ryan White Metropolitan Atlanta HIV Services Planning Council 2001; The African American Outreach Initiative; The National Baptist Convention of America, Inc; The 2001 National Conference on African Americans and AIDS; Working Together in Urban Communities, a project of Motivational Educational Entertainment; Life Beat; Africa Day 2001 Unity Celebration; Radio One Atlanta; Operation WAVE and much, much more. As you can see, we are all busy!
If you are an individual infected with HIV, or the family member or friend of such an individual; you are likely to be facing a number of new concerns and issues related to dealing with this life-threatening disease. AIDS Survival Project has peer counselors on board who are very knowledgeable about the types of issues you may be facing, as well as the resources available in the community and in our Treatment Resource Center. If you live outside the metropolitan area, our peer counselors can provide information about other agencies similar to ours in the rest of the state of Georgia. Our goal is to help you find resources that will help you meet your needs concerning housing, medical care, social services, emotional support, financial assistance, legal advice, and practical support.
Housing is an issue that matters on a daily basis to thousands affected by HIV/AIDS. We at AIDS Survival Project recognize that safe, decent and affordable housing must be a part of our common response to the HIV epidemic.
Now on to the second part of this series on housing. Below is information about housing opportunities in the Atlanta area.
Living Room was founded in 1995 as a program of Trinity Community Ministries (TCM). Over the next four years, the program grew and in 1999, with the blessing of the TCM Board of Directors, Living Room became an autonomous, non-profit organization. Since its inception, Living Room has served over 2,400 households. With the increasing impact of HIV on low-income and minority populations, it is anticipated there will be a growing need for their particular services.
Through information, referral and assistance, Living Room helps to move people living with HIV/AIDS along a continuum from instability to stable, affordable and appropriate housing.
A permanent and safe home is critical to a person or family living with HIV/AIDS. Living Room recognizes housing as a fundamental right and important component of life with dignity. Living Room works to enable people living with HIV/AIDS to live with dignity and independence as fully as possible.
Living Room is a housing information referral and financial assistance program for low-income individuals or families who are homeless, or at risk of becoming homeless due to HIV/AIDS. Living Room assists this vulnerable population with identifying, obtaining and maintaining affordable, appropriate housing in scattered sites throughout metro Atlanta. This work is accomplished in a variety of ways:
Living Room is open every day that the Grady Infectious Disease Clinic is open. They see clients from 9:00 A.M. until Noon, Monday through Friday. Clients should bring proof of income such as a Social Security letter, pay stubs, etc. Clients who are not patients at the Grady IDC should also bring proof of HIV status. Clients are encouraged to arrive early!
AID Gwinnett, Inc. Housing Programs provide services for persons challenged with HIV/AIDS in Rockdale, Newton, and Gwinnett counties.
AID Gwinnett offers assistance through:
The Cobb County Board of Health HOPWA program works collaboratively with local community housing providers to support a coordinated system of housing assistance to eligible clients. The Cobb program staff believes that a client's home life and housing are tied to their medical condition. Clients who are in unstable housing or who have housing-related troubles often do not optimally benefit from their medical therapy. The ultimate program goal is to support a client's overall wellness and medical condition by addressing the client's fundamental life issues in the housing arena.
This program consists of two case managers who work to help clients retain their current housing situation and/or find suitable housing. They work
The Cobb HOWPA program primarily serves clients in the surrounding community, though eligible clients from other areas are served as well. The client population is about two-thirds male with a growing female population. Many clients have families as well that benefit from services.
Advertised as, "A Place to Live in Dignity: Jerusalem House Adult Home," Jerusalem House was established ten years ago to provide a warm, supportive home for people in desperate straits who were at risk for being homeless and living with AIDS. At a time when fear and confusion about AIDS was the norm throughout society, the diagnosis often meant the loss of a job, abandonment by family and friends, financial ruin and homelessness.
Now, homeless persons with AIDS no longer have to live in danger and despair on the streets of Atlanta. Instead, they live at Jerusalem House in peaceful dignity -- comfortable and safe in a home-like setting that is both private and communal. There is access to substance abuse treatment and rehab, legal counseling, mental health counseling, transportation and other vital services. Jerusalem House helps their residents break the cycle of crisis and regain control of their lives.
Located in the Druid Hills/Virginia Highland area, the original Jerusalem House is home to 23 single men and women with HIV/AIDS. Residents are drug-free when they enter and must pledge to remain so.
In the ten years since Jerusalem House opened its doors, it has provided services to men, women, and children, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Their residents have been delivered from homelessness to hopefulness.
Another program of Jerusalem House has the slogan, "Keeping Parents and Children Together: Jerusalem House Women and Children's Home." In 1997, Jerusalem House pioneered the first-ever program in Georgia -- residential services designed especially for single mothers with AIDS and their children who have nowhere else to live. At the second Jerusalem House, located near Emory University, women have the opportunity to rebuild their lives, create stability and safety for their youngsters, and make thoughtful decisions about care and custody. This unique residence provides private one, two and three bedroom apartments for 12 families including some with several children. The lovely complex features activity buildings, play areas and other common spaces that allow residents to share educational, recreational and group activities or simply enjoy a conversation with friends. More than 25 local agencies and organizations form a network of support services for Jerusalem House families.
What are foreseen as future challenges for Jerusalem House? Despite advances in treatment, AIDS remains a disease without a cure. Persons with AIDS continue to need a place to prepare for death in dignity. Jerusalem House is there for them. New medications and treatments are working to repress symptoms and lengthen life. Many persons with HIV or AIDS are living longer, feeling better, and functioning at a higher proficiency. Understandably, they prefer to maintain independence outside of an AIDS-related living situation for as long as possible so there continues to be a need for transitional housing and other residential formats. Children of parents with AIDS also need the stability and services Jerusalem House provides, in addition to a plan for their future care.
Today, homeless persons with AIDS who seek out Jerusalem House are likely to need more than a just place to live. Often they need psychiatric services or addiction treatment. They are more likely than in the past to have multiple physical problems and to require a wider range of social services.
Therefore, the Jerusalem House mission is evolving. They envision a more demanding, complex future. The board of directors has forged a strategic plan to build new capabilities as they approach the 21st Century. They realize they must broaden their mental, physical and social services and develop even stronger partnerships with other service organizations to help persons with AIDS live in dignity.
Now, as in the past, fulfilling this mission depends on friends of Jerusalem House who want to help desperate, hurting people turn their lives around. To operate Jerusalem House effectively, as a safe haven against homelessness and lonely desperation, they depend on us. The residents depend on us, too. Children are often living in their first stable, decent home and their parents are determined to keep the family intact. These are folks who do not know what tomorrow will bring yet work hard to make the most of each new day. Together, let's act now to assure that Jerusalem House will always provide the warm, caring home that each of us yearns for and deserves.
Project Assist takes referrals from appropriate service organizations and works with women living with HIV but primary focuses on women without children with substance abuse issues.
The Edgewood requires centralized housing intake with complete medical information including proof of HIV status, income status, current drug screen, and a housing advocacy letter. Clients must have three months free of any substance abuse. They will work with most mental health diagnoses and stress medical compliancy and case management.
Sister Love's focus is on adult women and women with children. They require centralized housing intake with complete medical information including proof of HIV and income status. Clients need a current drug screen and a housing advocacy letter. The review includes psychosocial evaluation and clients must have three months free of substance abuse. They will work with most mental health diagnoses and stress medical compliancy and case management.
This transitional substance abuse and HIV education facility is for adult men who are at risk for homelessness and have a low-income. They prefer clients to be in a 28-day program or other formal detox. Clients may call to set up an interview and must have a current TB result. These are shared living quarters.
This facility is for adult men and women and requires centralized housing intake with complete medical information including proof of HIV and income status. Clients must provide a current drug screen, a housing advocacy letter and must have six months free of substance abuse. They will work with most mental health diagnoses and stress medical compliancy and case management. These are private living quarters.
AESM requires centralized housing intake with complete medical information including proof of HIV and income status. Clients need a current drug screen and a housing advocacy letter. The review includes psychosocial evaluation and clients must have three months free of substance abuse. They will work with most mental health diagnoses and stress medical compliance and case management.
Legacy House/Village requires centralized housing intake with complete medical information including proof of HIV and income status. Clients need a current drug screen and a housing advocacy letter. The review includes psychosocial evaluation and clients must have six months free of substance abuse. They will work with most mental health diagnoses and stress medical compliance and case management.
This is for adult men only and includes formal detox or other 30-day programs. These are shared living quarters.
OCW requires a full intake completed by their staff. This program is for those individuals struggling with both HIV and substance abuse. Clients should be in treatment, ready for treatment, or have a current clean drug screen. They should be at risk for homelessness and have a low income as well as current TB results. The facility is for adult men and women. These are also shared living quarters segregated by gender.
Clients must make at least $7,500 and no more than $19,050 for market-rate units. They also have shelter units available at a lesser rate of $260. These are based upon income, but referring agencies must complete applications. Clients must be gainfully employed for at least three months and have maintained six months free of substance abuse.
This article was provided by AIDS Survival Project. It is a part of the publication Survival News.