HOUSING TO ADDRESS THE NEEDS OF PERSONS LIVING WITH HIV AND OTHER VULNERABLE GROUPS

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New HIV/AIDS Coordinator in the Ministry of Housing, Francia Best.

The assignment of a full-time officer to the HIV/AIDS programme will help to fast-track housing assistance to persons living with HIV (PLWHIV) and other vulnerable members of the society.

Word of this has come from Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Housing, Edison Alleyne, who disclosed that HIV/AIDS Coordinator, Francia Best, who has a psychology, peer support and group counselling background, will be working closely with the National HIV/AIDS Commission (NHAC) to provide housing solutions for members of the public affected by HIV and AIDS. 

The Coordinator is already planning an awareness workshop to be held month-end for heads of department and explained that the Ministry is currently in the process of addressing the housing needs of persons living with HIV or AIDS.

“We are looking to provide short and long-term housing solutions to create some normalcy for persons living with this disease who may be in need of accommodation. Sometimes, they are ‘put out’ of their family home as a result of persons finding out that they have contracted the virus. Aside from that, there is also a need for persons to feel as though they are independent, as they try to get on with their lives,” she stated. 

Ms. Best, who is the fifth full-time HIV/AIDS Coordinator to be appointed, will also sensitise staff of the Ministry and the public about aspects of the disease, particularly in relation to stigma and discrimination in the workplace.

Other HIV/AIDS Coordinators already exist in the Ministries of Labour and Immigration, Tourism, Education and Human Resource Development and Social Care, Constituency Empowerment, Urban and Rural Development.

The full-time coordinators and other resource persons meet on a monthly basis in a partnership forum at the NHAC to report on their progress and to keep abreast of the HIV pandemic and the national response.

lbayley@barbados.gov.bb

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