BEHIV receives Wachovia Foundation Grant

Wed. September 24, 2008 12:00 AM

Funds will Help Provide Housing for People Affected by HIV and AIDS

Chicago, IL - Better Existence with HIV (BEHIV) announced it is the beneficiary of a $10,000 Wachovia Foundation grant to support its Housing program.

As the number of people living with HIV has grown, the need for stable and affordable housing has increased. Due to the effects of the virus and the side effects of medications, many people living with HIV are not working full-time and may be uninsured. In addition, many persons are supporting families in addition to supporting themselves.

BEHIV meets this ongoing and growing need through the Housing Assistance Program, which helps people avoid homelessness during periods of illness or financial crisis by providing rental subsidies to the participants' landlords. HAP staff link individuals to essential support services that make HIV/AIDS treatment, mental health counseling and substance abuse services more accessible. The program assists clients in maintaining their housing and independence through technical assistance in budget planning, apartment searching and applying for federal programs; advocacy in dealing with landlord/tenant conflicts; and emergency and ongoing rental and utility subsidies for clients who meet low-income eligibility criteria.

"We are very excited about this new funding from the Wachovia Foundation," said Executive Director Eric Nelson. "Many of BEHIV's clients need assistance finding stable housing before we can begin tackling other issues they face relating to their HIV status. Wachovia's generous donation will help our staff have the resources necessary to provide these life-saving services."

Referrals to the program come from a variety of sources, including hospitals, AIDS service organizations, community-based agencies, homeless shelters and psychiatric and substance abuse treatment programs. Following a comprehensive intake process, clients are assisted with locating a new apartment, if necessary, and getting settled in.

"We are seeing a growing need for Housing assistance," said Cassandra Smith, BEHIV's Housing Manager. "Lack of stable, safe housing affects a person's ability to address medication adherence, substance abuse, domestic violence and a host of other issues. We are extremely grateful for Wachovia's confidence in our program and very thankful for their support."
 

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