Canada: Falling Short; HIV North's Housing Program Having Trouble Finding Rental Space for At-Risk Individuals
December 21, 2006
Since the HIV North Society's housing program began Oct. 30, it has placed only two clients in rental housing units. HNS officials believe landlords' reluctance to participate stems from their fear that the HIV-positive clients, who include current or former injection drug users and female sex workers, will use drugs or be unreliable with the rent.
"The whole purpose of this program, though, is to kind of ease the landlord's concern in that way because we do provide the case management," said Courtney Rippin, HNS executive director. "We work really hard with the clients one-on-one to make sure that getting their rent paid and keeping the housing is the priority."
The city's costly rental market is also an obstacle, with HNS looking for units in the $400-$600 Canadian ($346-$519 US) range, said Rippin.
"We're trying to really connect with landlords to let them know about the program and services that we provide so that they understand that the clients are going to be supported when they're living there," said Rippin. "The harm-reduction theory is that if you place people within the community, and not all in one location, that you're going to have better outcomes and it's more normalizing for this group of people who are maybe having some difficulties to remain housed."
"Housing is really important and it's hard to make any kind of positive change in your life if you don't have housing," Rippin said.
Daily Herald (Grande Prairie, Alberta)
12.14.2006; Stephen Thomson
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.