Looking for housing can be a daunting task. First, you must become familiar with all of those housing aid programs, and then find the aid that you are eligible to receive. Then you have paperwork to complete and applications to submit. You may need to resolve a legal matter regarding your previous landlord and that last security deposit.
Contacting your case manager or, if you are in Los Angeles, contacting AIDS Project Los Angeles' Residential Services is a great place to start. But for clients who can access the Internet and want to do research themselves, AIDSHousingLA.org is a wonderful first step.
Consider the Options
Launched in August 2000, AIDSHousingLA.org is the first HIV-specific housing database in Los Angeles County developed through HOWPA funds.
This centralized, countywide housing information clearinghouse provides a range of information and referrals, from housing fact sheets to current available housing options countywide. On AIDSHousingLA.org, you will also find comprehensive fact sheets on Section 8, hotel/meal vouchers, HOWPA short-term assistance and many other government programs.
AIDSHousingLA.org has developed extensive working relationships with AIDS-service providers throughout Southern California. By utilizing these relationships, the site will continue to increase the amount of housing information and referrals available to case managers and clients. We will periodically survey the geographic areas represented in the database and increase outreach efforts to any areas underrepresented.
So Many Choices
The home page for AIDSHousingLA.org displays the variety of sections featured on the site: How to Use the Site, Housing Fact Sheets, Housing Programs and the HousingSearchTM database. You will also find a section titled What's New, to see what has been added since your last visit to the site.
If you are a novice to Web sites, you may want to begin to explore AIDSHousingLA.org here. The tutorial is a simple, three-page, step-by-step "how to," covering the basics on how to use, search and navigate the site.
This section covers financial issues, legal matters, moving, rental property, roommates, Section 8 and frequently asked questions. If you still have some questions, a section titled Helpful Links will take you to Tenant Rights/Legal resources, Government Agencies/Housing Advocacy, Searchable sites for Permanent Housing, Transportation, HOWPA Service Providers and other links.
This section covers information dealing with Community Housing Information and Referrals Program, Section 8, Hotel/Meal Vouchers Program, HOWPA Short Term Assistance Program and Shelter Plus Care Program. Here you can find comprehensive descriptions of each program, lists of participating agencies and frequently asked questions. All the information can be printed to take with you, if you do not have regular Internet access.
The HousingSearchTM database is the heart of the site. Here you will find housing resources, their addresses and phone numbers, a brief description and eligibility requirements, Web sites and a map. You can narrow your search by category, age and gender, city and keyword.
About 700 listings are available, and more are being added. If you know of an agency or listing that you think should be added, you can let us know by using the "Guestbook."
Anyone who has recently tried to find Section 8 housing in Los Angeles knows that many property owners are opting out of the Section 8 program. In the Helpful Links section of AIDSHousingLA.org, you can find a link to the Section 8 listings from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). You can also link to Web sites of other federal, state and local agencies and non-profit organizations.
By working with landlord associations, management/leasing companies and property owners throughout Los Angeles County, we will expand our database of available permanent housing.
Check Us Out
Please take some time to visit AIDSHousingLA.org, and become familiar with the site. When you visit, please go to the guest book to send your comments and suggestions to us. With your help, AIDSHousingLA.org can be an important resource for your housing needs.
Mark Oringer is a housing information specialist at AIDS Project Los Angeles. He can be reached by calling (323) 993-1526 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.