237164 Enhancing youth-based housing services and HIV prevention through community engagement: A successful model for identifying and implementing structural changes for homeless LGBT adolescents

Monday, October 31, 2011

Alison J. Lin, MPH , Adolescent Initiative, Children's Hospital of Philadephia, Philadelphia, PA
Marn Castillo, MEd, PhD , Adolescent Medicine Division, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA
Bevin A. Gwiazdowski , Mazzoni Center, Philadelphia, PA
Jonathan Ellen, MD , Division of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
Nancy Willard, MS , Center for Child and Community Research, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
Introduction: Unstable housing is a structural variable impacting HIV risk in the US. Research illustrates that homeless youth face greater risk for sexual assault, survival sex, and HIV. Barriers to stabilizing housing include an inadequate number of adolescent facilities and limited collaboration between service organizations and shelters. LGBT youth are disproportionately represented in the homeless population and comprise a unique at risk group.

Methods: Connect to Protect (C2P) Philadelphia's mission is to reduce HIV/AIDS rates among YMSM and their networks through collaborative efforts of local communities and health researchers. C2P is a community research project of the Adolescent Trials Network for HIV Prevention that addresses structural barriers to HIV prevention, such as housing, through strategic planning and structural change capacity building.

Findings and Conclusions: The housing subcommittee for C2P Philadelphia focuses on the connection between youth with insecure housing and HIV prevention. This committee is composed of members representing a variety of sectors including staff working in homeless youth shelters, transitional living facilities and LGBT youth centers; researchers; and clinicians. This presentation, developed by coalition members, describes the committee's journey from implementing programmatic level structural changes, such as hygiene kit distribution across sectors and instituting LGBT awareness trainings for shelter staff, to advocating for city level policy changes. C2P efforts to address the lack of data on this population, including developing data collection tools for partner organizations, writing policy briefs, and initiating a media campaign, are also described. This model demonstrates positive outcomes for LGBT youth through successful community engagement.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Diversity and culture
Public health or related research
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Define structural change and how structural changes influence HIV acquisition Describe the VMOSA process for strategic planning and coalition building around structural change Identify root causes that increase YMSM risk for housing insecurity and HIV acquisition Formulate/conceive ways to move community actions from programmatic to policy level foci

Keywords: Community-Based Partnership, Youth

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I facilitate the Connect to Protect coalition's Housing subcommittee and coordinate our work towards improving emergency housing and transitional living services for youth, especially LGBTQ youth in Philadelphia for HIV prevention.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.