The University of Illinois College of Medicine Peoria will receive $1.25 million to assist low-income persons living with HIV/AIDS and their families over the next three years in central Illinois. The local grant is part of a $37 million nationwide award announced in December by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to provide a combination of housing assistance and supportive services for this vulnerable population.

“This is designed to provide assistance to individuals living with HIV and to help establish stable housing. There’s a lot of additional expenses with this disease that makes it hard to make ends meet,” said Pam Briggs, Director of Administrative Operations at Positive Health Solutions, a program under the University of Illinois College of Medicine Peoria (UICOMP).

Research shows a stable home is critical to the well-being of persons living with HIV/AIDS, and results in better health outcomes and reduced transmission of the disease, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The $1.25 million grant will provide up to 55 people living in central Illinois with rental assistance, including case managers and social service coordinator during each of the three years. It also provides permanent housing placement services for up to 75 people over the three-year period. Similar assistance was provided in a previous three-year grant during 2014-2017.

Briggs said they currently have a waiting list. She added that the hope is that as people become more stable they will be able to transition to private housing and no longer need the funding assistance, allowing others living with HIV to receive assistance.

Since 1994, Positive Health Solutions has provided comprehensive medical care and services to persons living within a 15-county area in central Illinois, including those living with HIV.