News

Three-year collaboration between Avenue 360, AIDS Foundation Houston and UH Graduate College of Social Work will develop a “Southern Approach” to HIV services

HOUSTON, TX — AIDS Foundation Houston, Inc. (AFH), Avenue 360 Health & Wellness and the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work (GCSW) have been awarded one of ten U.S. Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) grants to receive $900,000 over three years to implement Project CORE. This program will coordinate HIV treatment, housing and employment services to improve health outcomes for low-income, uninsured and underinsured people living with HIV (PLWH) in racial and ethnic minority communities, and then evaluate the effectiveness of these community-based interventions.

The South accounts for 50 percent of the new infections in the United States, with Houston claiming between 1,200 and 1,300 of the 50,000 newly identified infections each year. At the same time, new infections in other urban areas have reduced dramatically. For example, San Francisco accounts for a little over 200 newly identified HIV infections each year.

Project CORE will employ interventions such housing and employment services with the goal of removing obstacles that are preventing PLWH in the South from getting into medical care, staying in care and reducing their viral loads. These obstacles include poverty, unemployment, unstable housing, substance abuse, lack of access to medical care and stigma around the disease.

“This program will allow Avenue 360 and AIDS Foundation Houston to transcend funding streams and combine services into a single approach, focusing on the health of people living with HIV while using employment and housing to support and improve health outcomes,” said Joe C. Fuentes, Jr., CEO of Avenue 360.

Project CORE is the latest move in a strategic alliance between AFH and Avenue 360. Both organizations play a vital role in ending new infections while supporting those who are HIV positive by offering comprehensive care.

“When we provide housing and economic security for the most vulnerable people living with HIV, we ensure better health outcomes and lower HIV transmission rates,” said Kelly Young, CEO of AFH. “This is how you end HIV in Houston.”

“This is an exciting collaboration to enhance the coordination of care and develop and evaluate a community-based structural intervention around housing and employment,” said Samira Ali, Ph.D., Site Evaluator and Assistant Professor, GCSW.

Collaboration with local HIV prevention and care programs will ensure that the program’s “Southern Approach” will be integrated into the local and regional infrastructure for sustainability beyond the project’s three-year timeline. Lessons learned will be shared to support the improvement of HIV outcomes among minority populations in the United States, and especially the South.

For more information about HIV/AIDS rates in Houston and Texas, please visit http://bit.ly/2xZcdgP.

ABOUT AIDS FOUNDATION HOUSTON, INC.

AIDS Foundation Houston, Inc. (AFH), founded in 1982, was the first AIDS Service Organization in Texas and remains a national leader in HIV/STD programming. Focusing on preventing new HIV infections, and providing housing and supportive services to those already living with HIV/AIDS, AFH provides care to almost 6,000 men; women and children affected by HIV/AIDS and will educate more than 90,000 people throughout Texas. For more information, please visit www.AIDSHelp.org.

ABOUT AVENUE 360 HEALTH & WELLNESS

For over 30 years, Avenue 360 Health & Wellness (formerly Houston Area Community Services and Bering Omega Community Services) has worked to bring a 360-degree approach to healthcare. Offering a holistic solution for those seeking a medical home, at Avenue 360 the patient is at the center of the healthcare model, receiving medical, dental, behavioral health, housing and support services. For more information, please visit www.avenue360.org.

ABOUT UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON GRADUATE COLLEGE OF SOCIAL WORK

University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work (GCSW) is a nationally recognized program, ranked 38 by U.S. News & World Report and the highest ranked College at the University of Houston. Offering MSW and PhD degrees, the GCSW prepares diverse leaders in practice and research to address complex challenges and achieve sustainable social, racial, economic, and political justice, locally and globally, through exceptional education, innovative research, and meaningful community engagement. The GCSW has established partnerships with agencies throughout greater Houston and counts a significant number of social work leaders among its alumni. For more information, please visit www.uh.edu/socialwork.

This project is supported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Secretary’s Minority AIDS Initiative Fund and administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration, HIV/AIDS Bureau and Office of Training and Capacity Development, Special Projects of National Significance (Grant No. H97HA31464). HRSA’s HIV/AIDS Bureau developed this initiative in partnership with U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of HIV/AIDS Housing (OHH) and U.S. Department of Labor.

Media Contacts:

Melody Patelis, AIDS Foundation Houston, patelism@afhouston.org

Joe Fuentes, Avenue 360 Health & Wellness, jfuentes@avenue360.org