Since 1998, the Delaware HIV Consortium has administered a statewide federally funded rental voucher program (RVP) for low-income individuals living with HIV/AIDS and their families, serving approximately 150 households per year. Clients are referred to the RVP by medical case managers throughout the state who assist persons living with HIV/AIDS in finding support services. The program provides rent subsidies that are based on total household income and housing costs, using HUD Fair Market Rents as a guideline. All assisted households must have incomes that fall within HUD low-to-moderate income limits. Assisted households spend 30 percent of their income on housing costs, including rent and utilities, while the RVP pays the difference to private landlords throughout the state on a monthly basis. Housing units must meet federal Housing Quality Standards and pass pre-rental and annual inspections. Assisted households are reassessed annually, based on program eligibility guidelines and sufficient available funding.
The RVP is primarily funded by federal grants from HOPWA (Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDS), that are awarded to the Consortium from the City of Wilmington and the Delaware State Housing Authority, and Ryan White CARE Act funds that are awarded from the State of Delaware Division of Public Health. Because the need for affordable housing for persons living with HIV/AIDS exceeds the amount of available funding, the Delaware HIV Consortium maintains a waiting list for eligible applicants. On average, there are 235 persons on the RVP waiting list. The waiting time for housing placement is over four years.
Since 1999, the Consortium has surveyed assisted households as part of evaluating the program’s effectiveness. In the most recent survey, 62% of RVP housing consumers indicated that they had been homeless before entering the program, while 79% reported that without the program, they would be homeless or unstably housed. For persons living with HIV/AIDS, medical management consists of careful compliance with complex medical regimens that require strict adherence. Without stable housing, such adherence would be difficult or even impossible to achieve.
By providing suitable affordable housing with medical case management, the RVP affords low-income persons living with HIV/AIDS an opportunity to achieve long-term stability and overall wellness. This year, all assisted households received medical case management and had access to HIV health care and other supportive services, while 99% successfully maintained a stable living environment.