LOS ANGELES: HIV/AIDS-Related Homelessness Requires Long Term Planning
Nearly two-thirds of low-income HIV/AIDS patients in a recent survey have been homeless within the last three years, indicating a clear need for long-term housing, according to a new study by the city of Los Angeles and the Shelter Partnership. The Los Angeles Times reports that "one key finding was the priority placed by a majority of respondents upon long-term independent living rather than assisted-care facilities." Ferd Eggan, AIDS coordinator for the city, said, "We're now starting to see a growing number of people who are HIV-positive but asymptomatic. They're not exhibiting any signs of illness" and "don't require hospice care." The study specifically eschewed "scientific" methods in order to "target certain demographic groups," according to Shelter Partnership Director Glenda Low. "We purposely wanted more women and people of color for the survey," she said, adding, "That's who in the next 10 years will be having AIDS. The number of white men with AIDS is decreasing. Everyone else is increasing." The Times reports that survey respondents "tended to be very poor" and experienced a high rate of health problems unrelated to HIV or AIDS. Twenty percent of survey respondents were women, 40% spent the majority of their monthly income on housing, 43% reported mental illness and 28% "suffered from alcoholism." Additionally, more than 75% of housing providers, social service organizations and health care programs surveyed agreed that existing medical advances will impact the long term housing needs of individuals with HIV/AIDS. John Maceri, chair of the committee that advises the Los Angeles City Council, said, the study will "inform our decision-making on planning and allocation" of federal funds, such as the $8.8 million L.A. County received for FY1999 Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDS.This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.