Module 1: Background to the HIV Housing Toolkit



Module 1: Background to this Toolkit



This resource was developed with members of the HIV and housing communities in BC with two goals in mind:

  • To increase the wellness of people living with HIV who are in need by improving their ability to navigate BC’s housing system
  • To inform housing and HIV service providers in supporting their HIV-positive clients to access and maintain housing.

Housing plays a major role in health. It can be a source of comfort or stress, impacting individuals’ physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being.

Living with HIV can add extra challenges for housing-related health because of:

  • stigma and discrimination, which can affect access to safe, appropriate housing
  • unstable employment due to health, which results in a lower income
  • difficulties getting to necessary health and social services that are concentrated in urban centres
  • physical or cognitive changes that affect the ability to live independently over time

Anyone affected by HIV knows about these and other challenges, but researchers, policy-makers, and service providers are still coming to a full understanding of the complex dynamics of health, housing, and HIV.

People have different ideas about home and how they want to live. Whether it’s a house, apartment, tent, or shelter, housing has an effect on everyone. Often people have limited choice when it comes to housing, leaving them in a living situation that is not right for them and that they would like to change.

Positive Living, Positive Homes: Studying Housing and Health for People Living with HIV

Positive Living, Positive Homes is a community-based research study whose active data collection phase took place from 2015 to 2017 in three BC sites: Prince George, Kamloops, and Greater Vancouver.

Take a look at this short video to learn more about the Positive Living, Positive Homes study and findings:

What supports Housing and Health for PLHIV in BC? Positive Living, Positive Homes from PANBC on Vimeo.


Researchers interviewed 99 people living with HIV to ask about how housing and health interact for them on a daily basis and over time. A total of 43 service providers and policy-makers in the HIV and housing sectors were also interviewed about the services and policies that support the housing needs of people living with HIV and what could be done better.

This qualitative study centred on stories more than numbers or statistics. The findings will help people with lived experience, community stakeholders, policy-makers and the general public understand more about the many challenges and successes experienced by people living with HIV as they navigate BC’s housing system and feel its impacts on their health. To communicate the findings, we have shared pieces of participants’ stories while protecting confidentiality.

The overall study findings are not surprising: Safe, affordable, adequate, and appropriate housing is critical to good health for people living with HIV. Programs and policies that provide them with genuine housing options, allowing them to decide what is best for them, are key.

The participants’ willingness to share their experiences with housing and health provided rich details about why housing challenges happen in certain situations and how people overcome those challenges when provided with the right tools and resources.

Now that we know more about why and how things happen, we can take action to improve housing and health for people living with HIV. This toolkit is one of those actions.




  • All Resources
  • Community Based Research Resource Summaries
  • Evaluation Resource Summaries
  • Training, Conference, and Webinar Resource Summaries
  • Population and Public Health Resource Summaries
  • Advocacy and Policy Resource Summaries
  • Hepatitis C (HCV) is a viral infection just as HIV is a viral infection. Unlike HIV, however, HCV can be treated and cured.  Treatment for HCV is available to anyone living with hepatitis C in BC.   Explore in Detail: Hepatitis C: Epidemiology, testing, treatment, resources HCV Manifesto Hepatitis C Treatment Options Expand in BC

  • The Evaluation News blog covers our work within PAN and with organizations in the community.  Learn about different kinds of evaluation like Realist Evaluation, learn how other organizations are using evaluation approaches, meet evaluators on the job, and find out about how you can help in community evaluation. Explore in detail:  Evaluation News blog Evaluation… Read more »

  • People with HIV can live long and healthy lives if they access to treatment and social support as needed. As people with HIV age, however, complications of aging can compound challenges of living with HIV. Concerns for people with HIV who are aging can include income security, stigma, safe and affordable housing, aging in place,… Read more »

  • Our Fall Conference, AGM, PLHIV Forum and ED Summit gathers people from across the province who share their programs and services, learn about new developments in public health, and help build a vibrant and supportive community. We also offer Regional conferences to customize capacity building-needs for different service areas in BC. After the events, with permission… Read more »

  • We offer our KnowledgeConnect webinars to reach our  member organizations as well as community leaders and stakeholders. Information is available when our viewers have the opportunity to connect. Watch for news on upcoming webinars in the blog. Follow the blog for news on upcoming webinars   Explore webinars by theme: Advocacy, Policy, Public Health Health Determinants… Read more »

  • In April 2016 BC’s Provincial Health Officer Dr. Perry Kendall declared the overdose epidemic in BC a public health emergency.  Despite committed efforts, the epidemic continues, as overdose statistics show.  This has significant impact on first responders, including frontline staff at Pacific AIDS Network (PAN) member and allied organizations, and especially people with lived experience… Read more »

  • In April 2016 BC’s Provincial Health Officer Dr. Perry Kendall declared the overdose epidemic in BC a public health emergency in April 2016.  Despite committed efforts, the epidemic continues, as overdose statistics show.  This has significant impact on first responders, including frontline staff at Pacific AIDS Network (PAN) member and allied organizations, and especially people… Read more »

  • Information about the law and the rights of people with HIV  Having HIV is not a crime, but law can impact heavily on the lives of people with HIV. The Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network “is one of the world’s leading organizations tackling the legal and human rights issues related to HIV, and advocating at both… Read more »

  • Evaluation can help guide your organization or group to make decisions about programs, services, research, and more. Participatory research is just what it sounds like- people and communities take part in decision-making about what is evaluated, rather than being told what they “should” evaluate. Community is central to evaluation work and we can help you… Read more »


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