Chicago City Council Examines Plan for Construction of Housing Units for People With HIV/AIDS
Chicago's City Council will today consider a mayoral plan that calls for the construction of an $11 million housing and social services project in a West Side community that is home to approximately 8,000 people with HIV/AIDS, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. Under the plan, the Chicago group AIDSCare -- which already operates a Chicago housing unit for people with HIV/AIDS -- would use a $1.2 million grant from the health department to construct a five-building campus that offers living quarters as well as a wellness center and other social services. Jim Flosi, founder and president of AIDSCare, said the facility would be the "first of its kind" in the nation because it would contain three different types of housing, including an Independent Family Living Residence for families that can "still live independently"; single-room occupancy units for homeless adults who have AIDS and "can't live on their own"; and one- and two-bedroom apartments for people who can live independently but who need support services. "What we're trying to do is develop a program that will give some people dignified living until they die and others dignified transitional living until they're capable of living independently," Flosi said. City Planning and Development Commissioner Alicia Berg said that the AIDSCare project "puts Chicago at the forefront in taking care of its 'most vulnerable' population." Chicago is home to 6,500 people with AIDS and "thousands" more who have HIV. If approved, the housing project would begin next spring and be completed in the second quarter of 2004 (Spielman, Chicago Sun-Times, 11/28).
Report Notes Housing Problems for HIV-Positive City Residents
The AIDS Foundation of Chicago yesterday released a report stating that the need for housing assistance for people with HIV/AIDS "continues to outpace available resources," leaving thousands of city residents with AIDS in need of housing services each year. The report, titled the "Five-Year Chicago Area HIV/AIDS Housing Plan," states that the lack of affordable housing in the Chicago area and the "chronic poverty" of many people with HIV/AIDS are "to blame" for the population's "housing instability." Mental illness among people with HIV/AIDS and housing discrimination also contribute to the housing problem, the report says. "For people with HIV/AIDS, a safe and affordable place to live can make the difference between life and death. We must continue to press upon public and private entities to expand housing services and must continue to target scarce AIDS housing resources where they are most desperately needed," Mark Ishaug, executive director of AFC, said (AFC release, 11/27). The housing report can be accessed online.