Access to appropriate and safe housing is an extremely important link in the management of HIV. Housing authorities recognise this and HIV+ people can apply for priority if they are eligible for public housing. Housing options can also include private rental, share accommodation and community housing.
The AIDS Housing Action Group (formerly known as AHAG) client services have been transferred to Inner South Community Health Service. They now operate the service and are responsible for it.
The AIDS Housing Action Group is a community based state-wide housing service for people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA), and is committed to the provision of safe, secure, affordable and appropriate housing. AHAG provides a housing advice and referral service, support services and operates an advice, education and consultation service for housing workers, community organisations and health workers.
The issues faced by PLWHA include unaffordable rent in the private rental market; harassment; a long waiting list for public housing; limited provision for emergency accommodation; unsuitability of current accommodation due to changed circumstances (eg, too far away from medical facilities, difficulty of access due to decreased mobility); financial difficulties caused by being unable to work due to ill health.
It is increasingly the case that affordable and appropriate housing options for PLWHA are extremely limited in Victoria.
AHAG aims to:
- Provide appropriate housing and support services to people living with HIV/AIDS necessary for the maintenance of their health and independence.
- Provide all services to all people with HIV/AIDS regardless of race, class, sexuality, gender, belief or ability.
- Provide people living with HIV/AIDS with the information, assistance and resources necessary for them to access appropriate housing and support.
- Promote awareness of HIV and housing issues and uphold the rights of people living with HIV/AIDS.
- Work towards the elimination of discrimination and harassment of people with HIV/AIDS in housing.
- Work towards better access to housing and support services for people living with HIV/AIDS.
AHAG provides housing related support services for PLWHA via housing information and referral, transitional housing support, facilitating access to crisis accommodation and long term housing options, and providing access to housing related financial assistance (primarily HEF). An interpreting service (either face-to-face or telephone) will be provided for people who require it.