Since 1990, Joseph’s House has provided a warm home and a welcoming community to very ill and dying homeless people in Washington, DC. We have built a solid reputation as a key component of the health care and housing safety nets for people living with HIV and for those with terminal cancer. Joseph’s House has provided hospice services and was the last home to more than 500 residents who lived and died among people who loved and cared for them and accompanied them in their final days and hours. We have also helped many people with advanced HIV disease regain their health and move to other living situations. Some have remained healthy and independent and others returned to Joseph’s House a few months or years later, terminally ill, and died here cared for by our loving community.
For those with potential for improved health, we provide extensive support for medication adherence, symptom management and engagement in care, training for independent living, assistance with placement in permanent housing, and links to ongoing support services, as needed. For those who come to live with us, we can almost always help them improve their health and well-being, and achieve or begin the path toward a reduced HIV viral load. For some, becoming well enough to leave takes a few months, while for others it takes six to nine months and sometimes more than a year.
Our goal for residents whose health improves is to transition to appropriate supportive and/or affordable housing¬. Housing stability is essential for them to maintain their improved health. Our staff guide residents in navigating the social services bureaucracy and securing all the documentation needed to qualify for housing, and they assist residents and former residents with reaching their goals to not just survive, but to thrive.