Housing Support

Access to affordable housing is one of the greatest unmet needs of people living with HIV/AIDS.  When people have safe, affordable housing they’re far more likely to take their medications, maintain proper nutrition and be emotionally sound.  In fact, HIV positive people who have stable housing are four times more likely to obtain medical care than those without housing. 

San Francisco AIDS Foundation partners with the San Francisco Department of Public Health to offer transitional housing assistance to almost 400 people living with HIV/AIDS in San Francisco who meet the city’s program eligibility requirements.  Many of our clients have been provisionally housed for significant periods.  Without assistance, they would be unable to afford their rental units and would be in grave danger of becoming homeless.

Clients in our rental subsidy program often also receive other foundation services such as financial benefits counseling, as well as referrals to supportive services throughout the city.  The goal: linking those with great need to a network of care and stability.

Below are questions most often asked by clients and those seeking housing assistance in San Francisco.  For more information about our rental subsidy program, call (415) 487-8000.

I am moving to San Francisco. What is the housing situation like for people with HIV/AIDS?

Unfortunately, the housing situation is difficult and expensive. The centralized city-operated housing wait list for people with HIV/AIDS has been closed for some time due to the great demand for housing and scarce resources. Rent in San Francisco is high compared to other metropolitan areas or even within the San Francisco Bay Area.  To get a general idea of current rental prices, you can check websites like Craigslist. Many of our clients either live with roommates, in single-room occupancy hotels or smalls studios.

How can I get a rental subsidy from San Francisco AIDS Foundation?

There are two referral channels for rental subsidy programs:

1. The first referrals channel is through the HIV Housing Wait List, which is managed by the San Francisco Department of Public Health, Housing Urban Health (DPH-HUH). If you were not enrolled in the Waiting List prior to 2001, this option is not available to you.

2. The second referral channel is through the Centers of Excellence.  There are seven Centers of Excellence in San Francisco and you need to be enrolled and actively participating in medical services in order to access the financial assistance through our rental subsidy programs. Call your Center of Excellence’s case manager and ask about the foundation’s Shallow Rental Subsidy Program and the referral process. For more information about the Centers of Excellence, go to the website for San Francisco HIV Health Services.

San Francisco AIDS Foundation does not own or manage buildings to provide housing. Prospective subsidy participants are responsible for finding their own unit with the assistance of their assigned case manager. Once the unit is found, a housing inspector conducts an inspection to check federal safety and sanitary standards. Once the unit passes the inspection, San Francisco AIDS Foundation activates the subsidy and the subsidy checks are mailed directly to the landlord or property manager by the first of every month. 

San Francisco AIDS Foundation is a third-party player and assumes no responsibility with the lease or the unit. The lease or rental agreement is a contract between the landlord/property manager and the tenant. As long as the subsidy participant stays in the program, case managers will provide social support, advocacy or information and referrals.

How do I find out where I am on the Housing Wait List (previously known as CHIPS)?

The list was closed in 2001, and is now managed by the Department of Public Health, Housing Urban Health. If you became HIV+ after 2001, you will not be in the HIV Housing Waiting List. If you became positive prior to 2001 and you lost contact with San Francisco’s service providers, there is a possibility that your name is still in the list. If you want to know your status in the list, please call (415) 554-2690. HUH staff will be able to assist you.

How else can I obtain housing assistance if I am not on the housing wait list?

Here are some local housing resources that may be able to help:

Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation:  www.TNDC.org

Mayor’s Office of Housing:  www.sf-moh.org

Housing Rights Committee:  www.hrcsf.org

AIDS Housing Alliance:  www.aidshousingalliancesf.org/

San Francisco Housing Authority:  www.sfha.org

TODCO Group:  www.todco.org

Catholic Charities (CYO):  www.community.cccyo.org/Page.aspx?pid=386

Eviction Defense Collaborative:  www.evictiondefense.org

You are always welcome to stop by SFAF to view housing opportunities posted on the bulletin board in our reception area.


What is Section 8 housing? Is it available in San Francisco?

Section 8 is a federal program that helps to bridge the gap between the cost of housing and the incomes of low wage earners and people on limited fixed incomes through site or portable rental assistance vouchers. In San Francisco, the program is managed by the San Francisco Housing Authority. Unfortunately, the Section 8 Housing Wait list is closed and currently has thousands of people waiting for openings.

For more information please call (415) 554-1205 or explore their webpage: www.sfha.org.

How do I find emergency housing?

To access any HIV services, including emergency housing, you have to become a San Francisco resident and provide proof of residency. Any San Francisco service provider that has been providing you services for 30 days is able to generate this document.
Lutheran Social Services manages the city’s Housing Stabilization Program that allows HIV positive clients to stay 28 days with the goal of transitioning to a more stable housing situation. You need to be referred by specific HIV providers. To get a list of the referring agencies call:

• Lutheran Social Services
Emergency Housing Coordinator
(415) 292-6325.

Contact Us

Client Services Dept.
415/487-8079 (FAX)

1035 Market Street
Fourth Floor
San Francisco CA