PAN Presents at CAHR 2017: PLPH’s Findings on Housing Services and Stable Housing for Health

Part 2 of a 2-part series   |   Read Part 1

This post is Part 2 in our two-part series related to Pacific AIDS Network’s (PAN) oral and poster presentations at this year’s Canadian Association for HIV Research (CAHR) Conference in Montreal, QC. The first post in the series focused on Jaydee Cossar’s oral presentation of the BC People Living with HIV Stigma Index’s research methodology, and a poster describing the impact evaluation of the Positive Leadership Development Institute (PLDI) that was produced by the PLDI Impact Evaluation Team (Read Part 1.)

This post focuses on the two posters that the Positive Living, Positive Homes (PLPH) study was invited to present at CAHR 2017. For those unfamiliar with the study, PLPH is a community-based research project in British Columbia that is co-led by Pacific AIDS Network and the University of Victoria and born out of the community’s identification of housing as a critical health determinant for people living with, or at risk of, HIV.

Darren Lauscher, a PLPH community consultant who has been involved with the study since its early days, presented a poster titled A Critical Examination of Housing Services for People Living with HIV and Recommendations for Action. This poster focused on study participants’ access and use of housing programs and services in the three PLPH research sites (Greater Vancouver, Kamloops, and Prince George). It also listed the recommendations that PLPH community partners suggested in response to issues that participants identified with some of these services, the foremost being confusion and frustration with navigating the subsidized and rental markets.

Devyn Flesher, PLPH’s Prince George Site Coordinator, presented a poster titled HIV and Housing Histories: Using Timelines to Trace Connections between Housing and Health. Devyn and the other site coordinators played a crucial role in honing the PLPH interview schedule to facilitate the creation of timelines to trace participant housing history. The site coordinators mapped the many housing transitions that study participants described in their interviews onto a simple linear timeline and added information about the points in time at which participants experienced illness episodes and/or periods of very good health. The timelines showed that unstable, unaffordable or inappropriate housing contributed to illness for study participants, while safe, affordable, appropriate housing contributed to better physical and mental health.

In continuous collaboration with community, some of the tools PLPH is currently working on include:
– A self-assessment tool for people trying to access subsidized housing. PLPH interviews revealed that many participants readily enter into rental situations simply to get a roof over their heads, only to realize that the situation is unsafe or inappropriate for their individual needs. The self-assessment tool will help clarify those needs so people can apply to live in buildings whose policies align with their specific situation, avoiding unnecessary stress and subsequent transitions.

– A service providers’ guide to offering housing support to people living with HIV, who are at any stage on the housing security continuum, from accessing housing to maintaining stable housing and all points in between. The guide can be used separately or in conjunction with the assessment tool.

For more information on Positive Living, Positive Homes, please email Heather Picotte, the PLPH Study Manager who designed the posters, at [email protected].