Positive Living, Positive Homes (PLPH) is a community-based research project in British Columbia born out of the community’s identification of housing as a critical health determinant for people living with, or at risk of, HIV and AIDS. While community-based organizations recognize housing is an important issue for people living with HIV/AIDS (PHAs) and those most “at risk,” housing for PHAs and those at-risk is not systematically addressed in policies and programs.
The PLPH study has been fostering community-based research in BC since 2008, developing capacity and supporting national HIV and housing research links. A multi-stakeholder investigative team was formed of PHAs, Peer Research Associates, AIDS Service Organizations, researchers, related community-based organizations, and representatives from the BC Ministry of Health, BC Housing and the Provincial Health Services Authority. In December 2011, the PLPH team was awarded a Catalyst Grant from the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR) to develop the first phase of the participatory study and generate a proposal for a 3-year research project on HIV and housing in BC. In March 2013, the team was awarded a 3-year Operating Grant from CIHR, and PHASE II is currently in progress!
The research project is led by PAN Executive Director Jennifer Evin Jones and Dr. Cathy Worthington of the University of Victoria. The study will use a case-study approach to:
- Investigate PHAs’ experiences of housing and health over time, exploring the personal, social and structural factors that influence health and wellbeing;
- Examine how housing and HIV programs, services and policies have influenced access to housing and interacted with housing experiences to influence health and wellbeing;
- Document the successes and challenges of various housing-related policies, and identify best practices for HIV and housing programs, services and policies so they may better meet the needs of PHAs;
- Mobilize research findings on HIV and housing in BC into actionable policy recommendations in order to improve ASO’s and other community-based organizations’ ability to deliver programs and services.
Between January and May 2014, a subcommittee collaborated on four interview guides using a participatory approach to research method development. The interview guides now contain over 200 open-ended questions, prompts, and visual research activities, and full ethics approval was granted by the University of Victoria in July of 2014.
Beginning in early 2015, we hired one site coordinator for each of the three case study sites – Prince George, Kamloops, and Greater Vancouver – and in the summer of 2015, those coordinators began the process of interviewing 125 people living with HIV. These participants will be interviewed again in 2016 to see how things have changed for them over the course of the year. As well, 60 service providers and decision makers from the three communities will be interviewed in 2016 to explore the various housing needs and pressures faced by different regions of the province. Given the project’s community-grounded research objectives, it is hoped and anticipated that this study will impact housing programs and policies in BC, promoting greater access to suitable, affordable and culturally appropriate housing services.
For more information on this study, please contact PAN’s Positive Living, Positive Home Project Coordinator, Heather Picotte, at [email protected].
PLPH Documents and Related Presentations:
At the February 2013 Knowledge to Action: Strategic Directions in Community-Based Research event that PAN hosted, consultant Debbie Thompson gave a presentation titled “Knowledge Translation in Action: Creating Policy Change through Housing Research.” This presentation was based on some housing policy analysis that she had conducted on the project.
In January 2012, the PLPH team met to learn about CBR and to develop research questions for the study. Below are links to download the presentations from this workshop (*please note that the larger presentations will take some time to download):
The Pacific AIDS Network would like to thank the Canadian Institute for Health Research for a Catalyst Grant to complete Phase I and an HIV/AIDS CBR Operating Grant for Phase II of this study. We would also like to thank the CIHR Centre for REACH for their support.