City Seeks Information About Developing New Housing for Persons Living with HIV/AIDS
In a Request for Information (RFI) released July 30, 2018, the City of Boston announced it is seeking ideas about creating new housing or designating more existing housing for people living with HIV/AIDS using federal Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDS (HOPWA) Program funds. Responses to the RFI are due by 5PM Monday, August 20, 2018.
Access to safe and affordable housing is essential for the long-term health of an individual diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. Housing is one of the strongest predictors of access to treatment, positive health outcomes, and length of life for a person living with HIV/AIDS. A HOPWA provider noted, “Once housed, our clients are able to keep up with medical appointments and treatment, and achieve improved health outcomes; they're also able to work toward other goals, such as continuing their education or obtaining employment.”
The HOPWA Program, funded through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), provides housing and services—like housing search, case management, or short-term financial help for things like utility bills—for people living with HIV/AIDS and their families. The City of Boston Department of Neighborhood Development (DND) administers HOPWA funds across Suffolk, Norfolk and Plymouth Counties.
Right now, the City uses HOPWA to provide housing by helping eligible tenants pay rent for apartments on the private market. But in a high-cost, low-vacancy area, HOPWA participants can search for a home for 6 months or more, according to the City of Boston March 2018 HIV/AIDS Housing Needs Assessment. One HOPWA provider commented, “Searching for an apartment is a full-time job for our clients, even with the intensive support provided by a housing search advocate, given the tight rental market.” Increasing the housing stock designated for persons living with HIV/AIDS will reduce the time a household spends looking for a home and will meet a basic community need.
The RFI asks nonprofit developers, public housing agencies, property managers, community development corporations, and other interested parties for their ideas on how to use HOPWA funds to build, renovate, or lease apartments using HOPWA funding, and how the City can be a good partner in this. It is important that this housing be integrated within a housing development and within a community.
The goal of this RFI is to gather information and explore new project types without committing to a particular concept. If the City, as a HOPWA grantee, chooses to later release a Request for Proposals (RFP) and support any specific developments, engagement in a public process with local residents and community members will be conducted as required by the municipality the project would be located in. Participation, or lack thereof, in this RFI would not help or hurt the chances of partnering with the City through an RFP in the future.
The City will accept responses to the RFI until 5PM on Monday, August 20, 2018; respondents’ questions may be submitted to Courtney.Trudell@boston.gov until 5 PM on Thursday, August 9, 2018. An applicants’ conference will be held at 1PM on Monday, August 6. Please RSVP at goo.gl/6HJEED for more details.