HIV and Housing Assistance in Four U.S. Cities: Variations in Local Experience
Alison Scott, Jonathan Ellen, Gretchen Clum and Lori Leonard
This paper provides an account of how young, HIV-positive women manage their lives on limited budgets in four United States cities: New York City, New Orleans, Miami, and Chicago. The study findings elucidate city-to-city variability in housing assistance, and how this manifests in locality specific differences in the experience of HIV. The study suggests that the receipt of housing assistance has ramifications for women’s engagement in care, and for their health. Women not receiving aid often move frequently in and out of homelessness, or “double up” with others in complex household arrangements to share costs. Women with long-term housing assistance, while still struggling financially, possess a stable base from which to approach daily life and HIV care. This account suggests a need for empirical research assessing the impact of local variations in housing assistance on specific health outcomes for those with HIV. It also highlights the importance of understanding local contexts when designing housing interventions at both the individual and structural levels.