San Francisco Residents With AIDS Hard Hit by Housing Crunch
In a city with a substantial housing shortage, low-income San Franciscans with AIDS are among the hardest hit, the San Jose Mercury News reports. The city's housing waiting list for people with AIDS has grown to 3,800 people, more than double the number in 1994. City officials have stopped taking names because of the housing crisis and predict it could be more than 20 years before people at the end of the list receive housing. A recent study estimated that 20% of HIV-positive people in the city are homeless, according to one city resident living with the disease. The lack of reliable housing complicates treatment for many people with AIDS. A stable living environment is "crucial to combat the disease," which requires many patients to take a "complex" daily regimen of medications and get plenty of rest. "There's very little margin of error in terms of missing a dose because you're waiting to get into a shelter," said Amy Cunninghis, associate director of HIV services and treatment at the San Francisco AIDS Foundation. Some advocates estimate that up to two-thirds of the cases they handle involve housing problems. There are 1,200 units available to AIDS patients who make less than $15,750 a year and 3,800 people are on the waiting list. Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDS, a federal program, has donated about $25 million over the past seven years, money that was used to build 300 apartments, and the redevelopment agency has recently approved a 100 unit complex in Mission Bay, a "huge development project," that will set aside 10% of its spaces for low-income AIDS patients. Another 61 units are currently in the works and will be available sometime next year (Zapler, San Jose Mercury News, 12/4).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.