We are excited to announce that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Office of HIV/AIDS Housing is awarding more than $1.2 million in Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDS (HOPWA) funding to Fenway Health. The funding is part of $41 million in competitive grants being awarded nationally to 20 local governments and non-profit organizations through the HOPWA: Housing as an Intervention to Fight AIDS program, the only Federal program dedicated to the housing needs of people living with HIV/AIDS.
The HUD grant award will fund a project that aims to break down silos between clinical care and Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) services by creating a continuum of care and services for those with a high level of need around care, treatment and SDOH supports, with a focus on housing stability. The project will improve connections between our Linkage to Care, Housing, and Clinical/ Medical Case Management departments. It will also expand on community partnerships through the network of providers engaged in Ending the HIV Epidemic (EHE) work in the Boston area. Building on these relationships, we will identify and serve additional clients with care and SDOH needs, focusing efforts on those most vulnerable.
“This grant recognizes the critical connection between housing stability and health outcomes for people living with HIV,” said Kristen Lascoe, Fenway Health’s Director of Housing Services. “We have the opportunity to provide services that meet the housing needs of our clients within a continuum of comprehensive care.”
Identifying a client’s housing needs much earlier in the process will have multiple benefits. We will be able to better understand the client’s priorities – which often include housing – and work with the client toward meeting those priorities. This in turn will help build strong, trusting relationships with the client to support health and housing needs, leading to stronger, more consistent retention in care and services. The community as a whole will also benefit by increasing the level of housing stability, which leads to better health outcomes and lower community viral load.
We plan to serve at least 120 households over the three-year grant period, with the expectation that many households will need to access multiple services during that time. The project will offer Housing Search, rental assistance, including rental start-up costs and assistance with back rent and utility payments, and supportive services such as connections to medical case management and employment services.
Over time, we will track housing status and health outcomes to illustrate the connection between housing stability and positive health outcomes. This will include measuring housing status and health outcomes with race/ethnicity data, and continually analyze these outcomes to ensure that our programming is aligned with our racial equity values and priorities. As part of Fenway Health’s Racial Equity Action Plan, we focus on the importance of collecting data and using data dashboards to evaluate our work in the racial equity space, and we will bring these priorities into this project.