HIV-specific housing in the changing world of HIV and housing
Abstract Format : Permanent supportive housing is a promising structural intervention for people living with HIV (PLHIV) who experience barriers to maintaining housing. Supportive housing operational policies aim to promote safe and secure housing for residents with complex psychosocial needs. However, little research is available regarding how housing operating policies impact residents’ health and wellbeing.
Methods : We conducted a mixed methods, community-based research evaluation of a large, HIV-specific, supportive housing residence in Vancouver, Canada. Qualitative interviews were conducted with 24 PLHIV at-risk of homelessness living in the housing residence. Data were analyzed using grounded theory methodologies.
Results : At times, housing provider efforts to maintain a safer living environment conflicted with residents’ endeavours to meet their housing needs. Policies relating to guests, harm reduction, building access, and surveillance impacted residents differently according to their experiences of conflict and resident-staff relationships. For some participants, these policies posed barriers and resulted in restricted social relationships and psychological distress. Select policies enhanced residents’ perceived safety. Participants contrasted the use of policies with other housing residences that utilize supportive programming and interpersonal interventions.
Conclusions : These findings suggest that enhanced supportive programming, rather than reliance on policies, may more effectively facilitate safer supportive housing environments. Housing providers and policy makers may consider reviewing internal and provincial policies, including those that criminalize substance use and poverty.