Los Angeles County is home to approximately 60,000 people living with HIV or AIDS (PLWHA). Los Angeles also is the “Homeless Capital” of the country. Homelessness in LA County increased by 16% from 2011 to 2013 and, in some areas, by almost 50%. There is a lack of needed legal resources for PLWHA who are homeless or at risk of homelessness to help eliminate barriers to income and stability to get them or keep them off the streets, to improve their quality of life and long term health.
Poverty and homelessness make it extremely difficult for PLWHA to properly follow a treatment regimen and the added stress of living in these conditions exacerbates the physical and psychological effects associated with HIV. Unhealthy and unstable living conditions contribute directly and indirectly to a weakened immune system, and can result in drug resistance, morbidity, and even death. For PLWHA income and stable housing can mean the difference between life and death.
ICLC’s HIV/AIDS Law Project eliminates barriers to income and housing for PLWHA in Los Angeles County. The Project, in partnership with the Los Angeles Housing and Community Investment Department’s Housing Opportunity for Persons Living with HIV or AIDS program (HOPWA), provides legal representation to individual eligible clients and their families on issues related to securing or maintaining stable housing and eligibility for public benefits. We also provide training to HOPWA funded organizations on housing, benefits, and other issues that impact people living with HIV or AIDS.
In addition, ICLC is a founding member of the Los Angeles HIV Law and Policy Project (LA HLPP), a new collaboration with the Disability Rights Legal Center, the Los Angeles County Bar Association’s AIDS Legal Services Project and the Williams Institute at University of California Los Angeles’ School of Law. This collaboration aims to expand the availability of legal services to PLWHA through a centralized County-wide intake line and coordinated services.
For more information about how you can help with this project please visit our Get Involved page or contact our Director of Pro Bono at Probono@innercitylaw.org. For more information about how Inner City Law Center can help you please visit our Get Help page.