Los Angeles is literally a city of angels, say some HIV-positive folks who’ve gone from homeless to housed, thanks to the Alliance for Housing and Healing’s Community Housing Options and Independent Supported Sites program. Clients in CHOISS (pronounced “choice”) include Angelenos of all ages (and their families) who are living with symptomatic HIV and dealing with another condition, like physical or mental disability or substance abuse. They are often poor and have been homeless or unstably housed; many of them are undocumented immigrants or people of color.
CHOISS offers its clients safe housing at low or no cost, in one of the 120-plus apartments the program leases throughout Los Angeles County. The organization also provides furniture, appliances, and maintenance—something many of the clients haven’t had in years. To avoid discrimination, property managers are prohibited from screening CHOISS clients in advance.
The people behind CHOISS say stabilizing clients’ housing situation helps them stabilize their physical and mental health, stay sober, and develop the skills they need to achieve independence.
Since its 1998 founding, CHOISS has served more than 600 people, including 200 dependent children, according to the Alliance (AllianceHH.org). Here are just a few of their stories.