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People Experiencing Homelessness or Unstable Housing and HIV

Education Packet

People Experiencing Homelessness or Unstable Housing and HIV – This packet is a compilation of recent fact sheets and other resources. You may wish to customize it to meet the needs or interests of particular groups, such as event participants, providers, patients, clients, or the general public. So please feel free to distribute all or part of this packet as either a printout or PDF.

Fact Sheets, Graphics, and Reports

Housing and Health ( – This fact sheet describes the health benefits of stable housing for people with HIV, the Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDS (HOPWA) program, and other types of federal assistance programs that may be available for people with HIV.

The Role of Housing in Ending the HIV Epidemic (CDC) – This issue brief focuses on the importance of housing for people living with, or at risk for, HIV infection. It reviews the ways housing affects health, including the impact of unstable housing on HIV testing, use of HIV PrEP, access and adherence to HIV treatment, and viral suppression rates. It also summarizes data on the high rates of housing instability among several groups that are disproportionally affected by HIV, including Black/African American people, Hispanic/Latino people, young people, and transgender and gender-nonconforming people.

Housing Is Health Care (National Health Care for the Homeless Council – NHCHC) – This web page outlines the dangers of unstable housing for people with HIV and ways stable housing increases access to health care and improves health outcomes.

Homelessness and Health: What’s the Connection? (National Health Care for the Homeless Council – NHCHC) – This fact sheet describes the interrelationships between homelessness and health. It includes information about the disproportionately high rates of HIV and other health conditions among people experiencing homelessness, how homelessness creates new problems and exacerbates existing ones, and why recovery and healing are more difficult without housing.


Health and Homelessness (National Alliance to End Homelessness) – This web page discusses the health challenges of homeless persons, and health conditions, including HIV/AIDS, that are much more common in this population group.  

Housing and HIV-Related Outcomes Among HRSA’s Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP) Clients in 2020 (Health Resources and Services Administration’s HIV/AIDS Bureau – HRSA HAB) – This infographic summarizes information on the number of RWHAP clients who are in stable, temporary, and unstable housing, as well as disproportionately high rates of temporary and unstable housing among youth, people who inject drugs, and transgender people.

Adapting Your Practice: Treatment and Recommendations for Unstably Housed Patients with HIV/AIDS (NHCHC) – This report recommends many specific steps to help healthcare providers adapt their practices to the needs of unstably housed persons. These include: changes in the model of care and service delivery; approaches for improving patient engagement in care; diagnosis and evaluation of HIV and other conditions; and the development of a plan of care and disease management for unstably housed persons. It also addresses a range of problems and complications that should be considered when providing care and services to this population group.

Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV Prevention: Considerations for Individuals Experiencing Homelessness (NHCHC) – This fact sheet provides guidance on the use of PrEP in health care settings that serve people experiencing homelessness. It also provides extensive background information about the intersection of HIV and homelessness, with a focus on subpopulations with disproportionate rates of infection.


Resources from the Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDS (HOPWA) Program

HOPWA is the only Federal program specifically dedicated to the housing needs of  living with HIV/AIDS. Under the HOPWA Program, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) makes grants to local communities, states, and nonprofit organizations for projects that benefit low-income persons living with HIV/AIDS and their families. HUD’s HOPWA website includes more detailed information on the following topics:


Other Resources on HIV and Homelessness and Related Topics

Housing (Center for HIV Law and Policy – CHLP) – CHLP’s HIV Policy Resource Bank includes court decisions, sample pleadings, articles, and other materials that speak to the housing needs of the HIV community, and address remedies, such as the provisions of the Fair Housing Act, that exist to help overcome discrimination and other barriers to housing.

Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program Compass Dashboard: Housing Screen (HRSA HAB) – The RWHAP Compass Dashboard provides users with the opportunity to interact with and visualize the reach, impact, and outcomes of the RWHAP. The Dashboard’s Housing Screen presents data on viral suppression and retention in care for RWHAP clients based on their housing status (stable, temporary, or unstable), and with breakdowns by race/ethnicity and age.

Strategies and Lessons Learned from Data Utilization to Improve Patient Care (New England AETC, April 2022) – This webinar describes how data utilization techniques can be applied to UDS quality metrics, quality improvement projects, and provides strategies to use the data to improve patient care in a homeless population with a high prevalence of substance use disorders.

Housing and HIV: HRSA and HUD Coordinate (TargetHIV, March 2022) – This illustrated blog item describes how HRSA HAB continues to partner with HUD’s HOPWA program to provide technical assistance to community agencies serving RWHAP clients who are unstably housed or homeless.

The HIV, Housing & Employment Project: Improving HIV Health Outcomes through the Coordination of Supportive Employment and Housing Services (TargetHIV and Boston University Center for Innovation in Social Work in Health, 2022) – This project has supported the design, implementation, evaluation, and dissemination of innovative interventions that coordinate HIV care and treatment, housing, and employment services. These interventions aim to improve HIV health outcomes for uninsured, underserved people with HIV from low-income and racial and ethnic communities. The project’s resources section has links to a series of  technical assistance webinars and issue briefs and site spotlights on a wide range of topics.

Housing Is Healthcare: Best Practices and Common Challenges in HIV Housing (Technical Assistance Provider Innovation Network, May 2021) – In this webinar, HRSA’s TAP-in technical assistance provider gives an overview of HIV housing strategies and program models across the U.S. that focus on innovation and on leveraging a range of housing and supportive services resources to maximize housing opportunities for people with HIV and to promote long-term housing stability.

Housing & Employment Spotlight: Helping Clients during COVID-19 (The HIV, Housing & Employment Project, February 2021) – This document outlines strategies developed by RWHAP recipients in response to some common challenges in the COVID-19 pandemic. These include: housing, food insecurity, healthcare delivery, employment, ensuring access to safety equipment, addressing trauma, medication access, communication, and delivery of incentives.

COVID-19, HIV, and Housing Instability (AETC National Coordinating Resource Center, South Central AETC, and Pacific AETC, December 2020) – In this webinar, presenters discussed the risk, incidence, and impact of COVID-19 on people with HIV, as well as linking homeless/housing insecure people with HIV to safe places to quarantine during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Engaging People with HIV Through Innovative Models of Care (HRSA CAREAction Newsletter, October 2020) – This issue includes information about engaging hard-to-reach populations affected by HIV, including people who face homelessness, people who inject drugs, and justice-involved individuals. Also included are two brief case studies of Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program-funded agencies’ efforts to engage hard-to-reach populations in care.

Housing Institute 101: Coordinating Housing Systems for People with HIV Experiencing Unstable Housing (HRSA HAB, August 2020) – This presentation from the 2020 National Ryan White Conference on HIV Care and Treatment provides an overview of unstable housing, homelessness, and their impact on health outcomes. The integration of housing resources into other systems of care is also discussed.

Housing Institute 201: Coordinating and Leveraging Housing within Systems of Care (HRSA HAB, August 2020) – This presentation from the 2020 National Ryan White Conference on HIV Care & Treatment highlights strategies to coordinate federal, state, and local funding streams to improve viral suppression for clients experiencing unstable housing.


The contents listed on this page are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement by, the New England AIDS Education and Training Center.