HIV, AIDS rate spikes among homeless

GLENDALE — Fewer homeless men and women were living on the streets of Glendale this year, but more of them had AIDS or HIV, according to a city report.

The number of homeless men and women in Glendale dipped slightly, from 428 in 2010 to 412 this year, according to the city’s 2011 point-in-time count. Of the 412 people counted, 108 became homeless while living in Glendale.

But a sharp rise in AIDS or HIV cases among the homeless population concerned service providers.

Four people in 2010 reported that they had HIV or AIDS, but that number jumped to 18 this year.

“We have to make sure we get them the help that they need,” said Natalie Profant Komuro, executive director of PATH Achieve Glendale, the city’s main homeless service provider.

PATH Achieve and city officials have been working closely with HIV-positive transients to provide care, referrals and education, city homeless coordinator Ivet Samvelyan said.

Volunteers hit the streets on Jan. 26 to count the number of homeless men and women staying in Glendale during this year’s regional winter shelter, which served an average of 190 people each night.

They surveyed the length of homelessness, family and veteran status, physical and developmental disabilities, domestic violence issues and mental health, and drug and alcohol problems.

The number of homeless veterans decreased from 45 in 2010 to 38 this year because more of them were placed into permanent supportive housing, according to the report.

Another 62 women and children and 25 men became homeless as a result of domestic violence.

Of the 412 people surveyed, 107 men and women were chronically homeless, which Samvelyan said is a segment of the population that the city has been dedicated to placing into transitional housing.

Thirteen men and women received intensive case management and were placed in housing, which helped reduce the number of chronically homeless, she said.

Samvelyan said plans for a locally run, 50-bed shelter are underway.

Urban Initiatives, a nonprofit community-based organization, has been confirmed as the shelter's service provider, but the city is still looking for a site, such as a church or community center, she said.

Anyone interested in hosting the temporary shelter may contact Samvelyan at (818) 548-3720.

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