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By : Priya Gopalen, Barry Pinsky

HIV and AIDS is an urgent housing and human settlements issue, especially among women and children living in poverty and suffering from poor housing conditions in urban slums in the South. The link between poverty and HIV prevalence is well established, and the fact that inadequate shelter increases the vulnerability of the urban poor to HIV and AIDS is increasingly recognised. Since 2003, Rooftops Canada and their partners in Kenya, Tanzania, Cameroon, Zimbabwe, South Africa, and more recently Uganda, have been working on strategies and developing programmes to respond to the AIDS crisis in these countries. Related programmes link shelter to poverty reduction through sustainable economic and social development, environmental protection, respect for human rights, democratisation and gender equality.
This paper compiles the experiences of the partner housing organisations and resource groups in Sub-Saharan Africa responding to HIV and AIDS among their constituent stakeholders. The community-based responses focus on promoting social sustainability, enhancing operational capacity and improving financial sustainability. Communitybased responses relate to issues of stigma and discrimination, reducing the impact of housing rights violations and responding to the specific vulnerability of children, women and youth. Social sustainability deals with the impact of HIV and AIDS on the social viability of communities. Operational capacity analyses housing groups' responses to the organisational impact of HIV and AIDS - including loss of staff, leadership and institutional memory, decreased productivity and capacity - and the experience of including HIV and AIDS within the core organisational mandate. Financial sustainability explores the challenges of reconciling related financial and social goals.
Keywords : Low-Income Housing, Informal Settlements, HIV, AIDS, Community Based Responses, Housing Groups, Housing Co-operatives.

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