Sacramento HIV Shelter ‘First of Its Kind’
Using a $1.3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Sacramento, Calif.-based AIDS organization Breaking Barriers has announced plans to establish a temporary shelter for homeless people with HIV/AIDS that "could be the first of its kind," the
Sacramento Bee reports. Unlike other shelters, which might require patients to leave during the day, the Breaking Barriers shelter will allow patients to stay to receive medical, psychiatric and social services assistance to help them manage the complexities of their treatment, which can include the consumption of up to 35 pills a day. The grant is part of $23.6 million HUD is distributing to 22 locations nationwide that provide innovative housing services for low-income patients. Other projects that received grant money include an overnight shelter for HIV-positive teenagers in New York City and a project in Alaska to provide services to rural patients. HUD representatives say they hope these models will be adopted widely. According to Fred Karnas, HUD's deputy assistant secretary for special needs programs, medication that is increasing life expectancy has caused a shift in emphasis among service providers from short term to long term care. "Over and over again, clearly, it's been proven how critical stable housing is to maintain a drug regimen," he said. Homeless HIV patients, who face increased susceptibility to illness, experience difficulty finding space in regular shelters due to other boarders' fear of their condition, and must also battle drug addicts who steal their medication. Dalene Ingraham, who has been HIV-positive for eight years, stopped taking her medication when she was living on the streets. "Some ... [medications] have to be refrigerated. If you don't have a home, you don't have a refrigerator. You have to be in a stable environment to be on medication," she said. The Sacramento shelter has not yet set an opening date (Enkoji, Sacramento Bee, 11/8).