GMHC Offering Housing for the First Time Ever
Housing Contract Maintains Housing Opportunities for High-Risk Populations Living With HIV
New York, NY -- Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC) announced today that for the first time, the agency will directly be offering housing with wraparound supportive services. GMHC has partnered with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene's Housing Opportunities for Persons with HIV/AIDS (HOPWA) program to take over a contract held for 25 units of scatter site housing in Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx beginning October 1, 2016. The units are currently fully occupied with residents who will automatically become GMHC clients.
In addition to living with HIV, all current residents of these units were undocumented when they moved in. Some have gained legal status and GMHC will be able to provide immigration legal services to any other resident wishing to pursue legal status. Prior to 2010, federal immigration law prohibited people with HIV from even entering the country. In 2010, the United States removed statutory and regulatory bans prohibiting people living with HIV from entering the country. This means that HIV status alone cannot be a reason for excluding, removing, or deporting a person from the United States.
Today's news follows an announcement back in June from the U.S. Department of Justice and the Department of Housing and Urban Development that GMHC would be awarded $1,283,497 to implement an integrated housing assistance and supportive service program for low-income survivors of intimate partner violence who are living with HIV/AIDS. GMHC's pilot program, called Safety in Housing, includes a partnership with the New York City Anti-Violence (AVP) and will serve up to 60 households, place 30 families in transitional or permanent housing, offer rental subsidies to 15 households, and provide short-term eviction prevention funds to 8 households annually in New York City.
Stable housing allows people living with HIV/AIDS to access comprehensive healthcare and adhere to complex HIV/AIDS drug therapies. Throughout New York City, individuals living with HIV/AIDS risk losing their housing due to compounding factors, such as increased medical costs and limited incomes or reduced ability to keep working due to related illnesses. A recent survey of GMHC clients showed that their top concern was housing.
Statement by GMHC CEO Kelsey Louie
"The top concern for the 10,000 clients GMHC sees every year is housing. This is an issue that was brought to me on my very first day as CEO of GMHC. I am thrilled to finally have an opportunity to provide housing to a population desperately in need of services. The legal, cultural, public health, and socioeconomic barriers created by the nation's current immigration system have created substantial obstacles for people living with HIV to access treatment and care," said GMHC CEO Kelsey Louie. "It is our belief that housing equals healthcare and this new program will provide residents with the around-the-clock support needed to ensure treatment adherence, while simultaneously providing them with everything from legal services and case management to employment training and hot meals. It is my hope that this program will be the first step in a long-term plan to expand housing opportunities for our clients at GMHC because we refuse to let HIV put people on the streets."