HIV Housing Assistance: How to Find Affordable Housing When Living with HIV

Louis Catania, Patient Navigator, Division of Infectious Disease and medically reviewed by Ann Avery, Infectious Disease Physician at Metrohealth Medical Center

Finding affordable housing can be tough for anyone, but for those living with HIV, it can feel even more overwhelming. Luckily, there are programs out there to help find the stable housing people need to stay healthy and thrive. 🏠❤️

Let’s dive into the different HIV housing assistance options available and how they can make a difference in your life! 🤗

Why stable housing matters

Living with HIV means needing regular medical care and a stable place to call home. Only, many people with HIV struggle with housing issues, making it harder to keep up with treatment and health care. 💊

See, when you have a secure place to live, you’re better able to focus on your health. That means taking your medications regularly, attending medical appointments, and maintaining a balanced lifestyle. That’s because housing stability:

  • Reduces stress.
  • Improves mental health.
  • Enhances your overall quality of life.

It's not just about having a roof over your head—it's about creating a supportive environment where you feel comfortable and are able to thrive. 🌟

HOPWA: a lifeline for many 🏡

The Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDS (HOPWA) program is the only federal program specifically designed to help low-income people living with HIV/AIDS, and their families, with housing. HOPWA provides grants to local communities, states, and nonprofits to offer housing and support services to those who need them most.

Who qualifies for HOPWA?

To qualify for HOPWA, you need to:

  • Have a medical diagnosis of HIV/AIDS.
  • Meet low-income guidelines (which vary by location).
  • Show a need for housing assistance.

You can learn more about whether you are eligible for HOPWA’s HIV housing assistance here, and remember: the great thing about the program is that the families of those living with HIV can also receive HOPWA-funded assistance!

Other HIV housing assistance options

Besides HOPWA, there are other programs to help people living with HIV find stable housing:

  • 🌟 Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program: This program mainly provides medical care and support services for people living with HIV, but it also includes housing assistance.
  • 🏢 Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8): Section 8 is a federal program that helps low-income families, including those living with HIV, afford decent housing in the private market. It offers vouchers to help cover rent, making it a great option for long-term stability. This program can be particularly helpful if you're looking to move into a new home but need the financial assistance to make it happen.
  • State and Local Programs: Many states and local governments have additional housing programs tailored to people living with HIV. These can range from emergency housing to long-term rental assistance. Don’t forget to check out what’s available in your area! Local HIV service organizations often have information on the specific resources available to

What to do if you’re houseless 🚨

Being unhoused can be a frightening experience, but there are dedicated resources to support you. 💗 If you’re houseless, reach out to local HIV service organizations, shelters, and social service agencies for support. They can connect you with emergency housing, medical care, and other vital services to help you get back on your feet.

Many organizations have emergency programs that work by giving out quick relief, like temporary shelters and urgent medical care. 🏥 From there, they can help you navigate longer-term solutions to ensure you have a stable place to live.

Help is out there

Look, having a roof over your head is one of those critical first steps to feeling safe. It’s super important for having the mental space to manage health, especially for those living with HIV. 🧠

That’s why programs like HOPWA and Ryan White, as well as those local state level initiatives, were created to provide critical things like HIV housing assistance. You shouldn’t wait to reach out to a local agency or nonprofit and figure out what your options are. These services exist to help those in need. Remember, it’s about more than just having a place to stay—it’s about building a foundation for better health and a more stable life. 💪🏠

For more support and resources, download the Positive Peers app today! The app is a safe space for people to connect, share experiences, and access valuable information on health, housing, and more. Find people that are on the same journey and are just trying to navigate life or find HIV housing assistance.

Start your journey with Positive Peers today and download the app for continuous support and resources! 📲