No Home For A Man With AIDS

There is nothing like the joy of coming home after a hard day of work.  If you’re like me, you might put on some music, take a shower, coke some food, light candles and incense, and just simply relax.  Or maybe you’re a television watcher or a book reader, well whatever it is you do at home, I’m sure your glad you have one.  Well, that’s not the case for all people.  I just recently had an encounter with someone who had AIDS and he had trouble finding himself somewhere to live.  Particularly he was looking for a clean and sober living environment like a home of some type that could help him.  But the problem was, he said none of the places that he tried would accept him because he had AIDS!

 

Luckily for him, my HIV/AIDS education and experience also included Fair Housing training.  Funny as it may be, that is actually how I got started in the HIV/AIDS arena in the first place.  I used to work for the Fair Housing Council of Central California under their HOPWA grant.  HOPWA for those of you who don’t know is Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS (HOPWA).  One of the main things that we dealt with was housing discrimination issues; and in my cases, those against people living with AIDS.  What people may not know is that AIDS is covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act and is also afforded the same privileges as other disabilities covered under the act.  Since I knew all this, I was able to calm the man down and refer him to the proper places to get his situation handled.  Unfortunately, I have been unable to get back in touch with him to find out how his progress is coming but one thing you can be assure of is that this type of situation has happened to and is still happening to others living with AIDS.  Some other things that had come up in my conversation with this man were the fact that there are no AIDS housing/complexes. I don’t know if any of you all remember the Miller Project or the Van Ness house.   Both of these places were around before I moved here to Fresno but now I don’t see them and I haven’t heard to much mention about them either.  But from what I saw in a 1999 Fresno County AIDS Housing report, these places once existed.  What happen?!!  To me, things like this show the progress and growth (or lack there of) of this community in regards to HIV/AIDS and the concern for the people living with this disease.  I’m very concerned when people don’t take action and more particularly when people stop asking “WHY?”  Folks you have to understand that HIV is a human disease meaning that human lives are at stake; that is why the “H” in HIV stands for Human.  One of PROJECT: MALE’s core beliefs states this, “We believe that individuals infected with HIV/AIDS deserves to be treated with dignity and respect regardless as to the circumstances that may have cause them to acquire this disease and that they should not be discriminated against in accessing medical treatment, housing, or employment.”  So if you feel this way too, give us a call at (559) 268-1969 and let’s talk about it to make Fresno County a better place for people with HIV/AIDS!

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