Agency Focuses on Direct Services to Clients Affected by Hurricane Sandy
As a result of Hurricane Sandy, many New Yorkers living with or affected by HIV/AIDS have been hit hard. GMHC’s clients are among the poorest and most vulnerable New Yorkers, and the outcome of the hurricane continues to have disproportionate impact on them. Given the ongoing immediate challenges faced by its clients, GMHC has decided to cancel its annual fundraiser, Fashion Forward, and focus on its core mission, providing direct support to people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS. Fashion Forward 2012 is cancelled.
Many of their clients continue to be without housing, food, electricity, clothing and HIV medications—and need basic humanitarian support. In fact, on Monday, October 29, several clients braved the weather, and walked from the Bronx and Brooklyn to their offices on West 33rd Street for a hot meal. This may have been the only meal of the day. Well over 400 meals were served in the heart of the crisis, even when subways had not even resumed, with clients walking long distances to receive food and assistance.
Not only HIV-positive clients are in crisis, one high-risk, HIV-negative client needed to see three staff persons including our psychologist, attorney and benefits advocate because the crises he was experiencing seemed insurmountable. The rest of last week, hundreds more came through their doors needing urgent care. It continues to be critical that we are here for their clients, providing meals and bags of groceries, linkages to housing and crisis counseling.
GMHC has started a new relief fund, Hurricane Relief Forward, to continue disaster relief work as their efforts increase each day with the growing demand for immediate services. More information about this fund will be available shortly.
“As we worked through last week, it became clear the disaster’s aftermath is much worse than what we originally anticipated,” stated Marjorie J. Hill, PhD, GMHC’s Chief Executive Officer. “During this profound time of need, we call on all our supporters to hold our clients in their hearts and remain constant in their generosity.”