Miami’s Affordable Housing Crisis Worsens Dade’s HIV/AIDS Problem

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[Many thanks to Teo Freytes for bringing this item to our attention.] Jessica Lipscomb (Miami New Times) offers a sobering view of Miami’s housing crisis and its effect on those afflicted by HIV/AIDS. He quotes a report that states that “Housing and transportation are extraordinarily important factors impacting people living with HIV/AIDS and affecting their linkage to (and retention in) HIV care.” Here are excerpts:

Finding affordable housing in Miami has never been harder, and the problem affects the whole city: It worsens traffic gridlock by forcing workers to live at the edges of the countydrives out bright college grads who would otherwise stay, and can even prevent domestic violence victims from leaving their abusers.

A new study points to yet another complication: The crisis might be preventing more HIV/AIDS patients from getting treatment. According to data from 9,500 Miami residents with HIV/AIDS, 30 percent of those who were homeless or in impermanent housing had high viral loads, suggesting that housing stability highly correlates with better health outcomes. The statistic was included in a report from the county’s new task force, Getting to Zero, which was convened last year after Miami-Dade was ranked number one in the nation for new HIV infections.

[. . .] Miami receives federal funding specifically meant for housing people with HIV/AIDS, but as rents rise, fewer people can be helped. As of last year, an estimated 10,787 of them needed housing assistance, but the city was able to hand out only 1,032 vouchers.

That’s a problem, because according to a recent county survey, the average income for a person living with HIV/AIDS was just $1,204 a month, barely enough to afford a studio apartment and still pay for necessities such as food and electricity. Twenty percent of survey takers said they were in impermanent housing: either homeless, bunking with family or friends, renting a room by the week or month, or in other transitional living quarters. [. . .]

For full article, see http://www.miaminewtimes.com/news/miamis-affordable-housing-crisis-is-an-hiv-aids-problem-too-9365243

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