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Call: (760) 323-2118
8am to 5pm Mon - Fri

Housing is an essential therapy for peop …

“From the time they come in and say ‘I’m homeless,’ to the time they say, ‘I got the apartment!’ it’s so great,” beams Nichelle Austin, Housing Case Manager for Desert AIDS Project. “You see them a month later and they look so different because they’re able to say ‘I’ve got a house. I can sleep tonight.’ ”

Nichelle knows that providing housing is essential therapy for people living with HIV and AIDS, who are facing homelessness or already living on the streets. She’s seen it work many times. So has Housing Coordinator Monica Aitchison.

“When a client gets housing and can sustain it, his health improves,” Monica observes. “At first, his health is fragile. Then he gets better. He’s not so isolated. He’s more approachable. You can see the difference.”

That’s why D.A.P. includes 81 studio and one-bedroom apartments at the Vista Sunrise complex in the compassionate, comprehensive care package available to clients. Located next to our campus at Vista Chino and Sunrise Avenue, Vista Sunrise is just one of several ways we support clients in need of housing.

Follow the winding path through Vista Sunrise and you’ll see a cluster of two-story buildings with Spanish stucco facades in the hues of a Mojave sunset. The apartments are unfurnished and airy at about 352 square feet for studios and 534 for one bedrooms.  There is a full kitchen and bath in each unit with outdoor patios. And the grounds include a dog park and a pool. Residents can decorate their patio areas to suit their own tastes just as they do inside their homes.

Gina Hooten, Vista Sunrise’s property manager, points out that potential residents must be diagnosed with HIV or AIDS. Applicants also have to undergo credit and criminal background checks. They must have a source of income, usually Social Security. Rent is based on a sliding scale of 30%-60%-of-income. This gets them into a space whose market value ranges from $650 to $700 a month for studios and $700 to $800 a month for a one-bedroom.

Our housing specialists say the need is growing. Perhaps it’s the economy or the fact that people move here because of the weather, the lower cost of living and availability of resources.  Whatever the reason, Vista Sunrise has a growing waiting list of six to eight months for one-bedrooms and 12 to 18 months for studios.

Your donations and support can mean a world of difference for someone who doesn’t know where they’ll be sleeping tonight. You can donate, volunteer, or help fundraise any time of the year to make sure there’s one less person on the streets.

Positive Examples: The HIV Story Project

Last World AIDS Day, Desert AIDS Project was lucky enough to host the film Still Around: 30 years of AIDS, 15 stories of hope for attendees. The film showcased short films by, for, and about people living with HIV/ AIDS to mark the 30th anniversary of the first report of AIDS in the country. One of these short works was directed by D.A.P. volunteer Daniel Cardone, who became involved in the film through the nonprofit, The HIV Story Project.

The HIV Story Project aims to share stories of HIV-positive lives through multiple media platforms, including web, film, public installations, and trainings. Based in San Francisco, the HIV Story Project will be one of many HIV/AIDS organizations across the country to gather at the upcoming 19th Annual International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C.

Supported with a $1000 donation from D.A.P., the HIV Story Project will present the Generations HIV storytelling booth inside the Global Village at the IAC, giving attendees a chance to record questions, answers, and unheard stories as a sort of new media AIDS quilt. D.A.P. is proud to support the efforts of organizations like the HIV Story Project in spreading the messages of hope, raw emotion, resilience, and strength from people living with or affected by HIV/AIDS.

This piece was featured in the Summer 2012 Progress Report. Read the entire thing here.

Download the free HIV testing anthem her …

“‘The Power to Be Strong’ song and music video campaign has been created to reach millions of people around the world about the importance of voluntary HIV counseling & testing and increased adherence to safer sex, and to empower the valiant efforts of any organization or individual participating anywhere in the battle against HIV/AIDS. As a person living powerfully with HIV, I am honored to share my experience, strength, hope, and song in support of the care, prevention, and advocacy services of Desert AIDS Project. Get tested and live longer and be strong!” — Nicholas Snow, Singer/Songwriter

Right-click and save to download “The Power to Be Strong”

Watch the video here. View and share in over 20 languages on Facebook and YouTube!

About Nicholas Snow