An organization that has taken on the challenge of tackling both the crises of homelessness and HIV/AIDS is Housing Works, headquartered in New York City. Since 1990, Housing Works has been able to provide

lifesaving services, such as housing, medical and mental health care, meals, job training, drug treatment, HIV prevention education, and social support to more than 20,000 homeless and low-income New Yorkers living with HIV and AIDS.
It is both the largest community-based AND the largest minority-controlled AIDS service organization in the United States. In addition, in order to pay for the many services it provides, Housing Works runs different social enterprise businesses.
Our best-known businesses are Housing Works Thrift Shops, a chain of upscale thrift shops located throughout New York City, and the Housing Works Bookstore Café, a used bookstore, literary hub and concert venue located in Soho in downtown Manhattan.
These businesses are able to bring in millions of dollars in revenue each year.

One of the services provided that has truly made a difference in the lives of Housing Works clients is Harm Reduction. According to the Housing Works website:
Harm reduction is a treatment approach that Housing Works uses to encourage our clients to reduce the harm that they may do to themselves or others through substance use and/or unsafe sexual practices. Harm Reduction focuses on practical tools—for example, the constant and regular use of new syringes and male and/or female condoms—as well as emotional ones: We empower our clients to understand the full impact of their actions on their loved ones and their community.

Source: Housing Works

Through the Harm Reduction approach, their clients are able to learn safer injection methods and exchange for clean needles, as well as learn about safer, healthier sex practices. This approach allows their clients to remain safe even if they are engaging in risky activities known to increase the risk of HIV transmission. Housing Works personnel have found that this method can have a better effect as compared to demanding that the persons they serve adopt sudden, unrealistic changes in behavior, such as quitting substance abuse "cold-turkey" or abruptly ending sexual activity. This helps to empower their clients, and it allows then to have an active role in managing their HIV and their own lives.

In essence, Housing Works continues to be a pioneer in the fight against HIV/AIDS and homelessness, consistently looking for ways to reinvigorate their programs to keep them relevant and consistent with their clients' needs.For more information about Housing Works and their different programs, please check out

Source: Housing Works