Clare Housing Begins a New Transition — July 6, 2012
We see change day in and day out at Clare Housing.
When residents move to Clare Housing we see their lives change; we see them move from an unstable life to a stable life; they have access to their medication and become part of a community with other residents, staff and volunteers.
Thirty years ago, the Twin Cities community responded to help people who were diagnosed with a disease that doctors knew little about. The first model of care was the community care homes where people came to live their final days. Today, we provide a continuum of care in four supportive housing programs and serve 150 low-income HIV-positive people.
Over the years, Clare Housing has evolved and changed the model of care to meet the needs of people living with HIV/AIDS.
As the saying goes, “Nothing is permanent but change.”
Change is inevitable for any organization providing services to people living with this incurable disease. In the last six years, we have developed cost-effective models of care such as: independent living with supportive services, electronic monitoring and overnight asleep monitoring.
With the opening of Clare Apartments and Clare Midtown, we are able to provide supportive services in an independent setting. Therefore today no one is on our waiting list for a community care home but we have 200 people on our waiting list for Clare Apartments and Clare Midtown.
For the last 10 years, funding from the state has not kept up with the cost of providing services for residents.
- Between 2003 and 2008, rates increased 7.7% while inflation for the same period was 19.7%.
- During the 2011 legislative session, rates were reduced 10% for 60% of our clients living in the community care homes and assisted living programs ($120,000/year).
With realities like these, it was incumbent on us to reduce costs in some programs while maximizing the most cost-effective services.
The next chapter for Clare Housing
With the state funding cuts and changes in care, we have made the difficult decision to discharge four individuals from our services and close Clare House in St. Paul by the end of the year.
We will begin immediately to help the affected residents “land safely” in caring and supportive housing environments. We will work to minimize staff layoffs and sell the house.
I want to state emphatically that I believe there will always be a need for the four community care homes. They exist to serve individuals who have significant care needs. We have had to re-configure our services based on the demand for housing and services along with funding. These decisions were necessary to assure the homes would be sustainable into the future.
We will work tirelessly for a smooth transition while continuing to concentrate on creating more HIV-specific housing options and expand our supportive housing programs. Currently we have several opportunities that we will be developing over the next 18 months. We:
- will expand our scattered-site program, Project Cornerstone.
- will develop 30 to 35 units of sober housing for people living with HIV/AIDS.
- have received funding from Minnesota’s Group Residential Housing Program and Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS, a federal program from Housing and Urban Development, for our next HIV-specific building.
- will implement electronic monitoring at another care home to serve our most disabled residents in a more cost-effective manner.
Plus, we are exploring implementation of congregate dining and transportation in our supportive housing programs and increasing supportive services to the residents.
This is a challenging time. As I have said before, if any agency can do this, Clare Housing can. I am confident we have the tenacity, talent and leadership to provide caring and safe housing to people living with HIV/AIDS no matter where they are in their journey. Clare Housing is just as nimble and flexible in evolving with the changes of living with the virus as we were twenty-five years ago.
On behalf of the residents, staff and board of directors, thank you for your commitment of support and time to Clare Housing.