Three days before Christmas, two Charlottesville groups that provide services to the local homeless population got an early gift: As part of almost $21 million bequeathed to the state by the Bush Administration, both Region Ten and the AIDS/HIV Services Group (ASG) received “continuum of care” funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for a total of $204,527.
Of this, ASG was awarded more than $60,000 for its 3-year-old housing program. Under this program, ASG helps homeless people with HIV/AIDS pay rent at scattered sites throughout a five-county region that includes Charlottesville.
“This disease turns people into homeless,” says Kathy Baker, ASG’s executive director. Unsurprisingly, personal crashes often follow an HIV positive diagnosis, says Baker, “trashing the lives” of previously productive people. “Suddenly, they are living on the streets or in cars.”
Currently, ASG is assisting 25 households with rent, and the $60,000 will help between five to seven of them. “We help people stay in communities where their services are,” she says. “We hook them up to all the community resources.”
Region Ten, a government-funded nonprofit that provides mental health services for the area, received almost $144,000 for a longstanding program through which it provides permanent housing for those dually diagnosed with mental illness and substance abuse issues. At five locations scattered around the city, the group rents three-bedroom apartments from area landlords. Each location has on-site peer support.
“It’s proved very successful,” says Reed Banks, Region Ten’s director of mental health services. “We keep the homeless mentally ill off the streets.”
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