Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
-- Article 25, Universal Declaration of Human Rights
According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, only 9.1% of people with HIV/AIDS are getting their housing needs met in San Francisco. Our City is in last place in the nation in terms of housing people with HIV/AIDS. The San Francisco Department of Public Health indicates that 10% of the overall homeless population has AIDS. If we include people who are HIV+ but have not progressed to AIDS, possibly 20% of the homeless population has HIV. As proud San Franciscans, we are embarrassed and outraged.
President Obama created the first National AIDS Strategy that has called for 86% of people with HIV/AIDS across the country to have permanent, stable housing by 2015. Clearly, San Francisco has a long way to go to reach the national average.
This situation was allowed to evolve for several reasons, not the least of which was our leaders turning a blind eye to the displacement by real estate speculators targeting gay men with AIDS in the Castro. In fact, 50% of people with HIV/AIDS in San Francisco had their first experience of homelessness as a result of converting their rent controlled apartments into a Tenancy In Common. There is also widespread perception that AIDS is being adequately funded, fueled in part by the successful fundraising achieved by large AIDS organizations who are expatriating the majority of the funds raised to pay for salaries and services delivered outside of San Francisco.
The Q Foundation will continue our advocacy to focus our elected leaders, nonprofit executives, and City department heads’ attention on the #1 unmet need of people with HIV/AIDS in San Francisco – housing.
A core component of our advocacy and movement building is to educate and empower people with HIV/AIDS to become involved in the political process, and to provide the job training necessary for people with HIV/AIDS to take positions of leadership in our own HIV/AIDS organizations.
We will continue to get the message out to our community that there are enough of us living in District 8 – the Castro, and District 6 – the Tenderloin, to determine who our next supervisors are in those districts and to have a substantial impact on future Mayoral elections and those of our representatives beyond San Francisco. ÂÂÂ We must learn as a community how to vote in our best interests --- because when we fight, we win!