Team Chicago: Housing IS Healthcare

By Adam Conway on April 7, 2014 in AmeriCorps

While treatment has evolved to the point that HIV/AIDS can be a manageable chronic illness for most, unstable housing severely threatens that reality. Homelessness impedes access to healthcare, leaves one vulnerable to hazardous health conditions, and undermines the stability necessary for a consistent treatment regimen. And

Our Donation Drive Poster, designed by team member Eric

Our Donation Drive Poster, designed by team member Eric

the number of those affected by the intersection of HIV and homelessness is alarming. Approximately 4 percent of the homeless population of the United States is believed to be HIV-positive, and the National Alliance to End Homelessness estimates that 50 percent of the 1.3 million people living with HIV/AIDS in the United States are at risk of becoming homeless. The severity of homelessness in the HIV community is very real.

Team Chicago’s members are grateful to be placed at agencies aware that housing IS healthcare and that homelessness is a critical issue for the HIV/AIDS community. That is why, for our long term service project, we wanted to serve this cause and to benefit agencies providing housing opportunities to the HIV/AIDS community. We’ve decided to raise funds and supplies for the housing programs at The AIDS Foundation of Chicago and Chicago House and Social Services Agency, which collectively provide housing to over 800 people living with HIV/AIDS and their families.

Specifically, our fundraising efforts are focused on providing new home, cleaning, and hygiene supplies to newly housed HIV-positive clients. While government funds are more readily available for groceries and clothing vouchers, few dollars are earmarked for these everyday essentials that are part of a healthy life and home. It is our hope that, through gathering these supplies and funds, we can help our agencies provide the stability and environments necessary for our clients to live full, healthy lives.

Supplies collected at one of our sites, Bonaventure House

Supplies collected at one of our sites, Bonaventure House

Our team has planned a series of fundraisers over the next several weeks, but for AmeriCorps’ “Healthy Futures Month,” we decided to host a donation drive at our area agencies. Through posters, social media, email blasts, and word of mouth, we encouraged employees of our host agencies to bring in hygiene and cleaning supplies to benefit our clients. Check out the photo to see some of our spoils!

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