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Movin' on Up

Movin' on Up


In the 30th year of the AIDS epidemic and its 30th year of existence, Gay Men's Health Crisis still sees high demand for its services'and the agency's leaders say a move to bigger and better office space will help them continue to meet that demand. 'In those 30 years we've only moved four times, and each time we've moved, it's been to better serve people with HIV and AIDS,' says Marjorie Hill, CEO of New York City'based GMHC, the nation's oldest AIDS service provider. GMHC's latest move, in April, took it to 165,000 square feet of space at 446 W. 33rd St. in Manhattan. The location has several advantages over the old one, about 10 blocks away at 119 W. 24th St., where GMHC faced a 30% rent increase, Hill says. It has 45,000 more feet of usable space, spread over just two floors instead of the previous 12, allowing for improved service coordination for the agency's 11,000 clients, she says. While some activists, such as GMHC cofounder Larry Kramer, raised concerns about clients losing access to the hot meals served on 24th Street, Hill says the meal program will continue at the new location, which has the potential to serve more people with a 20% larger kitchen and brand-new equipment. For clients wishing to prepare food at home, the new space offers an expanded food pantry, named for late artist Keith Haring in recognition of the Keith Haring Foundation's $250,000 gift for the program. Other services moving to the new headquarters include health and nutrition education; legal, housing, and mental health support; vocational training; and case management. A second space, scheduled at press time to open in June, will house HIV prevention and testing services, continuing at the 24th Street location until then. The new Center for HIV Prevention, at 224 W. 29th St., will also be home to a new program offering educational and career guidance to people aged 13-18, regardless of HIV status. It's aimed at fostering the self-esteem that will help HIV-positive youths have better lives and help HIV-negative ones stay negative, Hill says. 'What helps a person use a condom is self-confidence, resiliency, self-esteem,' she says.

30 Years of Out100Out / Advocate Magazine - Jonathan Groff and Wayne Brady

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Neal Broverman