Writers, philosophers and artists around the globe have tried to capture the feeling of “home”—that psychological state of warmth and security, of familiarity and heart—and even though the feeling may be different for each of us, we can usually agree that “home” is a special place. It’s not surprising, then, that where we live can have an impact on our mental and physical well-being.
Research has already pointed to a direct link between housing and health, particularly for people living with HIV. Studies have shown that a person’s housing status (stable, unstable or homeless) is a strong predictor for whether or not they’ll be able to access and adhere to medical treatment. Housing also plays a role in HIV prevention, as homeless or unstably housed people are more likely to contract HIV.
Armed with this knowledge, the Pacific AIDS Network (PAN) wanted to look at the specific experiences of people living with HIV in British Columbia. With support from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, PAN co-led the development of Positive Living, Positive Homes (PLPH). Focusing on Kamloops, Prince George and Greater Vancouver as case study sites, the project involves a multi-stakeholder team of researchers, policy makers, service providers and people living with HIV. It was designed to explore the impact of housing-related policies and programs along with the lived experiences of community members.