Canada: A Home on the Way to Recovery
April 22, 2011
Toronto-based Fife House has helped about 170 individuals and families affected by HIV/AIDS find affordable housing. Now it is launching a new housing program for HIV-positive people struggling with drug or alcohol dependence. The initiative, operating in partnership with Loft Community Services, is the first of its type in Ontario, said Keith Hambly, Fife House's executive director.
"We have seen in the past number of years a steady number of folks who are either displaying mental health issues or substance-use issues in addition to their HIV status," Hambly said. "A lack of [stable housing] can contribute to them falling through the cracks. There is a gap in the supportive services that are out there."
The greater Toronto area has about 18,000 people with HIV/AIDS. Fife House serves about 400 people a year who are homeless and have HIV.
The new program now has 32 units, mostly apartments, across the city. Residents also benefit from the services of a case manager and a program tailored to their needs.
The many advantages of stable housing, from having a mailing address to a refrigerator for medicine, can tangibly improve health care. "It could mean regular medication drop-offs," Hambly said. "It could be connecting with community programs."
The first residents began moving in a few weeks ago, and as the program grows Hambly expects additional units will be needed.
For more information, visit www.fifehouse.org.
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