Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 3 / 18 January 2018
 

AIDS housing agency changes name

NEWS


Q Foundation director Brian BasingerPhoto: Rick Gerharter
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For the past 13 years, AIDS Housing Alliance/San Francisco has provided rental subsidies and help with back rent, among other services, for low-income people living with HIV/AIDS. On May 1, AHA co-founder Brian Basinger announced that the organization would be known as the Q Foundation going forward.

The rebranding was announced in conjunction with the agency offering expanded services not only to people with HIV, but to low-income LGBTQ seniors and people who are disabled by conditions other than HIV. The HIV-related services will continue. 

In an email sent by Basinger to the organization's members and others, Basinger, 49, said that he and his partner, James Nykolay, 50, incorporated as Q Foundation 13 years ago – the organization began with $100 from Basinger's disability check and Basinger is himself a longtime HIV survivor. The organization currently operates on a $2.4 million budget; funding comes from city and federal grants, as well as private donors.

"We have grown our programs over the years to serve the LGBTQ and HIV communities, so being the AIDS Housing Alliance is no longer an accurate depiction of our services," Basinger said in the email. "Our programs now include Q:HPRP – LGBTQ homelessness prevention and rapid rehousing, AHA Cafe – our job training program located on campus at Hastings School of Law, and Simply Sandwiches, distributing 10,000 brown bag lunches per year to a variety of communities."

Q Foundation also offers a permanent supportive housing program for chronically homeless disabled people with HIV/AIDS, and its senior or disabled rental subsidy program, which is open to all senior or disabled San Francisco renters.

"With proper investment, every single person facing homelessness should be saved," Basinger said. "With a $9 billion city budget no San Franciscan should be forced to leave the city unwillingly."

Basinger was referring to skyrocketing rents and an escalating eviction crisis, which has forced scores of LGBT people out of their homes. The LGBT-centric Castro district is among the neighborhoods particularly hard hit.

Basinger noted that a city law known as Ellis Act Housing Preference Program gives preferential consideration to people who've lost their homes due to Ellis Act evictions after January 1, 2012. (The Ellis Act is a state law that allows landlords to evict tenants to get out of the rental business.)

"After registering at the Mayor's Office of Housing and Community Development, they can walk into most affordable housing providers and get the next available unit," Basinger said. "This information needs to become better known in the LGBTQ community."

Q Foundation will continue to offer two weekly drop-in clinics, on Monday and Tuesday mornings – interested people must arrive at Q Foundation's office by 10 a.m. in order to participate. To make things easier, Basinger wants community members to know that they can also apply online for the foundation's new, monthly affordable housing workshops by visiting http://ahasf.org/index.php?option=com_jumi&fileid=6&Itemid=233.

Basinger is also submitting the names of Q Foundation clients to various market-rate housing developments, which are required by law to set aside a percentage of their units to below-market renters. Fifty-six applications were recently submitted to the Civic, a new, upscale rental building located at 101 Polk Street where 19 below-market units are available. The residents will be chosen by lottery.

Basinger is also hoping to obtain housing for Q Foundation clients at 55 Laguna, Openhouse's affordable senior housing complex. Set to open the first phase this fall, 55 Laguna is the city's first housing complex meant for LGBT seniors, although non-LGBT people can apply since the project must comply with anti-discrimination laws.

In the first phase, 31 affordable units will be awarded through lottery to seniors 55 and older. Some of those 31 units will be set aside for District 8 seniors. Another eight units will be designated for seniors living with HIV/AIDS at risk for homelessness and a different selection process will be used.

An additional 79 affordable units are to be made available next door at 95 Laguna in 2018, but people will need to be 62 or older to apply. Fourteen of those units will be set aside for seniors living with HIV/AIDS at risk for homelessness.

"I have maintained my focus on helping the LGBTQ and HIV communities keep the housing they have and gain fair and equitable access to affordable housing resources," Basinger said.

Basinger added that a new law based on neighborhood preferences for affordable housing would go into effect later this month.

"Our goal is for the city to provide sufficient funding for subsidies for everyone who is HIV-positive or otherwise disabled, or age 60 and over who wins the lottery," Basinger said. 

Basinger encourages people in need of housing to apply online at the San Francisco Housing Authority – www.sfha.org – which is currently accepting applications through May 18 at midnight for its project-based voucher, or PBV, units.






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