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New affordable housing complex for people living with HIV opening this week

Julia Smith with Project Transitions said having affordable housing for those with HIV is important to help treat them and stop the spread.

AUSTIN, Texas — One organization is working to create affordable housing for people living with HIV in Austin.

Supportive housing for people living with HIV is limited, but Project Transitions is working to change that for people like Clarence Fagins. A new complex is set to open next Wednesday, and Fagins said he doesn't know where he'd be if it wasn't for the supportive housing.

Fagins has dealt with trauma throughout the years. He struggled with substance use, went to prison and experienced homelessness.

“I was abused when I was a kid, and I turned to drugs and alcohol,” Fagins said.

"I was put in ICU and surrounded by a bunch of doctors, and they told me I almost died. And I’ve been through that probably about four times,” he added.

After almost facing death, he decided to make a change.

"Since I’ve been with Project Transition now and really committed myself to it, I have been in no trouble. I have a stable place to live,” he said.

Julia Smith with the nonprofit said housing is crucial for people living with HIV. At this new complex, residents will receive treatment and access to mental health services.

"Folks who are homeless and have HIV usually aren't treating their HIV because they're just focused on survival," Smith said.

Smith said about 1,500 people living with HIV in Austin don't have stable housing.

“If 1,500 people aren't treating their HIV because housing is getting in the way, that means HIV is still spreading in our community. And so, housing is essential to stop the spread of HIV,” Smith said.

Fagins will move in for now, but his goal is to find his own place to free up space and give others like him an opportunity to get help.

"Project Transition was a godsend for me. So, because I don't know where I would be, I pretty much gave up,” Fagins said. “And just I would like people to know there's hope."

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