Poverty and Public Health
3:39 pm
Fri May 31, 2013

Federal Grant Will Mean HIV/AIDS Housing Help

People and families living with HIV/AIDS in northern New Mexico, will get help with housing, as a result of a federal grant award, for a one-of-a-kind assistance program.  

The $1.3-million dollars awarded to the Santa Fe Community Housing Trust is the third grant the non-profit has won over the last decade to assist extremely low-income persons and families living with HIV/AIDS.  According to the Trust's director, Sharon Welsh, the funds will provide rental and home buying assistance.  She points out that having a roof over their heads enables patients to safely focus on their treatment regimen, and that stability keeps patients out of the ER.

“And the difference in cost to the person or to the public at large is enormous – maybe several hundred thousand dollars worth of emergency medical treatment, when regular adherence to a drug therapy will suffice.”

Santa Fe is the only community in the country, according to Welsh, that provides grant money to HIV/AIDS patients for home purchases.  She says when they got their first grant 14 years ago, the Housing Trust was focused on providing rental assistance for terminally ill patients. Now that life expectancies are much longer, Welsh says they can help people buy permanent homes.