We’ve seen the news coverage about the deaths and destruction that Hurricane Harvey caused in Texas. Even those organizations charged with helping others are struggling to get back on their feet. Among them are AIDS Foundation Houston and the Montrose Center. Both organizations serve those living with HIV/AIDS.
The Campbell Foundation, a Fort Lauderdale-based nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting clinical, laboratory-based research into the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS, has provided each with a $10,000 emergency grant to be used as each organization sees fit.
“Living in South Florida, we know first-hand the devastation a hurricane can bring. Many of the most vulnerable people – those living with HIV/AIDS – have had their lives turned upside down and we wanted to do what we could to assist,” said The Campbell Foundation’s Executive Director Ken Rapkin.
To put things into perspective, AIDS Foundation Houston, which serves more than 200 people living with HIV and residing in six housing programs, was forced to shut its doors after Harvey struck. The foundation is now seeing clients who have been displaced due to the flooding, loss of personal items and furniture, and who need food, toiletries, cleaning supplies, and linkage to medical providers so that those who are HIV positive do not run out of medications, according to Melody Patelis, Chief Development Officer for AIDS Foundation Houston.
“This donation means so much to our clients, our staff and the agency. I'm very moved that The Campbell Foundation reached out with support during this incredibly difficult time. We don't know what the next few months holds for the city, our clients and our staff, but this donation will help us meet the challenges,” said Patelis.
The Montrose Center provides a variety of services including counseling, case management and housing assistance to the city’s LGBTQ and HIV-positive population. The catastrophic and historic impact of Hurricane Harvey will be felt by the LGBTQ community of Houston for days, months, and potentially years to come.
The Montrose Center is one of the top LGBTQ community centers in the nation and has been supporting LGBTQ clients in rebuilding their lives for 39 years. With more than 35,000 clients in core programming, and 2,422 clients living with HIV/AIDS, the agency is learning daily about the fate of its staff and community members who lost everything, according to Alexandria Mackzum, Community Project Specialist.
“Thanks to the generosity of the Campbell Foundation, Montrose Center case managers will be able to coordinate support for people living with HIV and ensuring that these clients have access to medication, housing, furniture, and nonperishable food. HIV positive client needs will be assessed on an ongoing basis during the city of Houston's recovery from this catastrophic natural disaster,” said Mackzum.
About The Campbell Foundation
The Campbell Foundation was established in 1995 by the late Richard Campbell Zahn as a private, independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting clinical, laboratory-based research into the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS. It focuses its funding on supporting alternative, nontraditional avenues of research. In its 22nd year, the Campbell Foundation has given away more than $10.5 million, with about $1.5 million going to direct services.