Hi everyone! My name is Summer Sterling and I’ll be working in Washington, D.C. this summer as the Housing Works intern. I am a member of the class of 2010 at W&L and am majoring in politics and working on fulfilling the Shepherd Program.

I am currently at the opening conference at Berea College. I thought I would post a little introductory information about myself and Housing Works. Here is the organization’s mission statement, taken from their website:

Housing Works provides homeless and low-income New Yorkers living with HIV/AIDS and their families with housing, meals, medical care, drug treatment, social support, employment opportunities and other lifesaving services. Housing Works is especially committed to serving those who have difficulty obtaining services elsewhere because they struggle with mental illness or chemical dependency. Through political advocacy, Housing Works and its clients fight to ensure that homeless and low-income people worldwide who are living with HIV/AIDS have access to adequate housing, meals, medical care, drug treatment, social support, employment opportunities and other services fundamental to health and happiness.

According to the most recent D.C. HIV/AIDS Epidemiology Update the city is experiencing the highest level of HIV/AIDS cases in the country with 3% of the population infected. To put that figure in perspective, when the overall percentage of disease among residents of a specific geographic area exceeds 1% the CDC defines it as a generalized and severe epidemic. Here is a link to a Washington Post article about this issue: http://good.ly/w7iiag and the offical report can be found here: http://good.ly/dewjb

I have never worked in the HIV/AIDS services field so I am a little nervous about the internship but the conference has been a good introduction. Meeting the other program participants has been a lot of fun. Tonight we had a bbq and listened to a local band play in the town square. Now we’re all watching reality tv together – go figure! I head to D.C. tomorrow and start work on Monday.

Until then, Summer