San Francisco Chronicle Profiles New Advocacy Group AIDS Housing Alliance
The San Francisco Chronicle on Thursday profiled the AIDS Housing Alliance, a new organization that aims to connect HIV-positive people to landlords and roommates who are friendly to HIV-positive people. Although San Francisco offers affordable housing units to HIV-positive people, waiting lists are long and the turnover rate is slow because antiretroviral drugs have allowed patients to live longer. No organizations currently exist in the private sector to link landlords and HIV-positive tenants or to refer potential roommates to each other, according to AHA founder Brian Basinger. The new alliance will link landlords, tenants and roommates through listings that interested parties can peruse at an office donated by the Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco or at monthly functions that Basinger calls "speed dating for roommates." Although most city landlords know that open discrimination on the basis of HIV status is illegal and "wouldn't fly," they often use economic or disability discrimination to reject prospective tenants who are HIV-positive, according to Christian Irizarry, a case manager at Catholic Charities. An estimated 750 of the fair housing complaints filed with the San Francisco Human Rights Commission each year come from HIV-positive people, according to Compliance Officer Ed Ilumin. In addition, about 33% of the 1,500 cases handled each year by the AIDS Legal Referral Panel are related to housing discrimination, panel Director Bill Hirsh said. "It's the next generation of evolving services needed for people living with HIV," John Crapo, an adviser to the new alliance, said, adding, "Initially, organizations were set up for the crisis and ... dying times. Now, the issues are longevity: How do we live?" (Marech, San Francisco Chronicle, 1/29).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.