In the 1990s, when people living with HIV/AIDS began to live longer because of new antiretroviral medications, CARES realized that all the safer sex knowledge in the world does not help someone who is too drunk or high to use it, or economically pressured to ignore it. We realized that substance abuse and unstable housing must be addressed to keep people living with HIV on their medications and people at risk of infection from becoming infected. A horribly common occurrence was a person living with HIV completing a traditional 28-day substance abuse treatment program, but having inadequately addressed their HIV status, and finding themselves newly sober, homeless, and trying to manage HIV. Trying to maintain an HIV antiretroviral regimen in addition to the travails of daily life on the street is a recipe for relapse. To address the problem of inadequately addressed HIV status we created our substance abuse treatment program. To address the problem of homelessness we created multiple housing programs, many of them specifically for people living with HIV/AIDS.
We have four emergency beds, two specifically for people living with HIV and two specifically for people waiting for substance abuse treatment. We also have transitional housing for people regaining stability in their lives and permanent supportive housing to keep people stably housed. Unstable housing is the greatest risk factor for HIV infections/transmission and people living with HIV are 8 times more likely than their stably housed brethren to decline into AIDS. There is a cost to house a fellow human being and prevent an HIV infection, but the lifetime cost of treating an HIV infection is approximately $335,000 and the medical cost of bringing stable health to someone with an AIDS diagnosis is astronomical.
CARES created and administers the below housing programs.
Project Home Again I
Project Home Again II
Project Home Again III
Project Home Again IV