Housing Opportunities for People With AIDS (HOPWA)
Grantee and Community Profile
The Statewide HOPWA program is administered by the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), STD/HIV Division. DHEC distributes the funds to regional Ryan White Care Providers and/or eligible non-profit organizations that assist persons living with HIV/AIDS. The state HOPWA program serves all areas of South Carolina with the exception of the Columbia and Charleston EMAs, which receive HOPWA funding directly from HUD and Aiken and York Counties which are part of neighboring states’ EMAs.
The HIV/AIDS epidemic in South Carolina is continuing to grow with an average of 795 cases of HIV infection reported each year. At the end of 2010, there were 14,708 persons estimated to be living with HIV (including AIDS) in South Carolina, excluding persons diagnosed in other states who now live in the state. South Carolina has experienced a 42 percent increase of all people living with HIV/AIDS from 2000 to 2010. The increase in the number of people living with HIV/AIDS in South Carolina equates to increased need for health care and housing services.
The primary objective of DHEC’s HOPWA program is to keep PLWHA from becoming homeless. Persons living with HIV or AIDS risk losing their housing due to compounding factors, such as increased medical costs and limited incomes or reduced ability to keep working due to AIDS and related illnesses.
The Statewide Comprehensive Plan developed in 2009 identified lack of housing as a hindrance to clients’ ability to access and comply with HIV-related services and treatment because of the relative priority and immediacy individuals place on securing safe, stable housing versus seeking health care, especially if they are asymptomatic. Activities such as enrolling PLWHA into Housing Case Management, which includes developing individualized client action plans, and developing relationships with local housing experts have been identified in the 2009 Plan to increase the proportion of PLWHA who are stably housed and therefore, improving their ability to access medical care.
HOPWA funds are used to provide Tenant Based Rental Assistance (TBRA), Short-Term Rent, Mortgage and Utility payments (STRMU), Permanent Housing Placement (PHP), Supportive Services, and Operating Funds for Facility Based Housing. During FY 2011-2012, 142 households were served with TBRA; 319 households received STRMU; 55 received Permanent Housing Placement and 1,040 households received supportive services such as case management or transportation. Thirty-two households resided in facility units supported with HOPWA operating funds and twelve households resided in units of housing developed with HOPWA funds during the last ten years and continue to house individuals living with HIV/AIDS. Case management is an important component of South Carolina's HOPWA continuum of care. Trends in the HIV epidemic indicate that over the next 5 -10 years there is a continued need for more affordable housing on a long term basis, particularly housing in areas that provide a safe, healthy environment for families or women with children.
The project sponsors of the state South Carolina HOPWA program (with the counties and activities they serve) are:
- AID Upstate
- Piedmont Care
- Catawba Care Coalition
- Cooperative Ministry
- Fort Mill Housing Services, Inc.
- HopeHealth PeeDee
- HopeHealth Edisto
- HopeHealth Lower Savannah
- ACCESS Network
- Upper Savannah Care Services
- Sumter Family Health Center
- Wateree County Health Department
- University of South Carolina Department of Medicine