Project FIRST

Transitional Housing and Supportive Services for Formerly Incarcerated Persons Living With HIV/AIDS

Project FIRST (Formerly Incarcerated Rental Support and Training) has transformed the lives of more than 800 HIV-positive individuals since program inception in 2003. Offering transitional housing, housing placement, short-term rental assistance, and eviction prevention assistance, Project FIRST assists men and women recently released from prison successfully return to their communities.

Project FIRST is a HUD Special Project of National Significance (SPNS).

The program helps HIV-positive men and women recently released from prison return to their communities, find permanent housing, and obtain the care they need to remain healthy. Program participants have demonstrated a low rate of recidivism—less than 14% since 2003, as compared to a national average of over 40%—providing measurable evidence of the program’s effectiveness.

Project FIRST support services begin once a client is released from prison. Depending on his or her individual needs, a client may be referred to other co-located programs. Those in need of immediate housing can access shared, temporary housing for up to 30 days while staff members work to locate appropriate permanent housing. Once a client has been placed in permanent housing, Project FIRST provides follow up support to help maintain stable housing. Clients who need assistance turning on their utilities due to past debt, or who have fallen behind in payments and face imminent shut-off, can access Tenant Based Rental Assistance/Utility Assistance, provided they are not eligible for HASA benefits or public assistance.