The population served at CitiLeaf, formerly homeless people living with HIV/AIDS who also struggle with a history of substance abuse and/or mental illness, represents a group with housing and vital support service needs within New York City.
CitiLeaf residents continue to experience stigma and institutionalized discrimination in attempts to access necessary resources from external systems. For this reason, advocacy is a vital component of working with this population. For many residents, moving into permanent housing represents an end point in the continuum of navigating and engaging with a multitude of other systems or experiences including emergency shelters, SROs, and street homelessness. It is within a permanent housing setting that holistic services can be rendered with continuity such that residents have access to support across a wide range of domains.
CitiLeaf believes in a “housing first” model which is an approach that a homeless person’s primary concern is to obtain stable housing and that other issues such as substance abuse, mental illness, physical illness, etc. can only be addressed once housing is obtained. Housing is healthcare! We strongly believe in the theory of harm reduction as the best practice toward sobriety for those struggling with the disease of addiction, not treatment as an exchange for housing.
At the end of 2013 there were 117,618 individuals in NYC living with HIV/AIDS. 1,527 individuals died that year. In light of these high figures and a growing, research-supported awareness that stable housing is a crucial component of healthcare for people living with HIV/AIDS, it is essential that agencies like CitiLeaf be accessible to those in need.
*All data collected for the Federal HMIS will be strictly protected and confidential.