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Successful Housing Program Selects Second Replication Site

Prevention Point Philadelphia will replicate a housing first, harm reduction model of care that was created by The Open Door, Inc., a Pittsburgh-based nonprofit that has shown that its services improve adherence to HIV treatment through the provision of stable housing. With funding support from AIDS United and the MAC AIDS Fund, The Open Door will provide a sub-grant and technical assistance to Prevention Point Philadelphia to initiate its own housing first program. The Open Door will provide training, problem solving, implementation assistance and ongoing support to Prevention Point Philadelphia. Coaching will be provided by the peer staff of The Open Door; by Dr. Dana Davis, one of the program’s co-founders; and by the program’s Executive Director, Christina Farmartino, who is a graduate of Pitt Public Health. In addition to the replication process, the AIDS United/MAC AIDS Fund grant also funded an evaluation study led by Mary Hawk, DrPH, LSW, who is co-founder of The Open Door and Assistant Professor and Senior Associate Director of the Evaluation Institute for Public Health, which is in Pitt Public Health’s Department of Behavioral and Community Health Sciences. In addition to documenting program effect, a goal of the evaluation study is to identify best practices, which can then be applied to the replication process. The Pittsburgh team recently used results from the study to develop a “Housing is Healthcare” toolkit to be used by other organizations who wish to implement similar models of care. The toolkit can be found on the organization’s website, In addition to implementing a new transitional housing program, Prevention Point Philadelphia will replicate The Open Door’s Client Centered Representative Payee services, a program in which clients who are unstably housed are assisted in managing their income so they can pay their rent and other bills. This support reduces stress and allows participants to prioritize their medical care and treatment. Dr. Hawk and colleagues from The Open Door recently completed a pilot study evaluating the impact of the services. Early findings suggest that, for people with HIV who are unstably housed but not living at The Open Door, representative payee services can significantly improve the likelihood of achieving HIV viral suppression. A second toolkit, focused on Client Centered Representative Payee services, will be published in Summer 2015.


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