Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations
Chicago Home For HIV-Positive Individuals Expanding To Include Assisted Living, Medical, Social Service Facilities
AIDSCare, a Chicago-based not-for-profit organization that runs a North Side facility that houses 17 people with HIV/AIDS who would otherwise be homeless, last week broke ground on a new $14.5 million, 2.7 acre, five-building campus in the North Lawndale community, the Chicago Tribune reports. The West Side campus will house "dozens" of low-income and homeless people with HIV/AIDS and will offer medical care and social services to residents of the campus, as well as residents of the surrounding community. The city last month sold 27 vacant city-owned lots to AIDSCare for $1 each, and it plans to offer similar transactions for future projects, according to Alicia Berg, commissioner of the Department of Planning and Development, the Tribune reports. The Chicago Department of Public Health provided $1.2 million in federal funding to the project, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has also pledged funding. "We're trying to enrich the neighborhood while providing housing and services for people who are HIV or AIDS positive," Jim Flosi, director of AIDSCare, said. Three of the buildings will house 65 apartments with various levels of independent and assisted living, including a building designed specifically for women or single parents who can live independently but who need support from social services. A fourth building will hold a pharmacy, dental clinic and wellness center, which North Lawndale residents will also be able to use. A fifth building will house a youth education center and several agencies that work with children. "It's unique," Luis Vera, director of litigation at the AIDS Legal Council of Chicago said, adding, "A campus like this stands as a symbol that there shouldn't be any distinctions between the 'HIV community' and the community as a whole." However, some North Lawndale residents "say the distinction is clear," according to the Tribune. Isaac Lewis, editor of the North Lawndale Community News, said, "Some people are worried about the safety factors of using the same health facility" as HIV-positive individuals. Flosi said that he hopes community education will help assuage such fears (Kapos, Chicago Tribune, 2/17).
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