The catastrophe of homelessness is devastating for anyone, but for those living with HIV/AIDS, the lack of stable housing — and with it the ability to follow a complex health care regimen to decrease the risk of other illnesses — can be life-threatening.
The Coalition launched its Scattered Site Housing Program (SSHP) in 1990 as one of the city’s first models for providing private permanent housing — as well as necessary supportive services — to homeless people living with HIV/AIDS.
SSHP apartments are scattered throughout the city, although most are in Harlem and the Bronx. Once a family or individual is placed in an apartment, our case workers meet with them bimonthly to provide a comprehensive array of services — helping manage the physical and emotional difficulties that accompany their illness. SSHP staff not only ensure that clients receive necessary healthcare and benefits, but accompany them to medical appointments and even shop for groceries if the client is too weak to go out.
To provide emotional stability, SSHP organizes depression and substance dependence treatment groups, meditation seminars, and support groups for families to help them cope with the challenges of having a loved one who is living with HIV/AIDS.