The services provided by AID Atlanta are individualized to a client’s needs. In order to receive services provided by the organization, one will need to provide proof of HIV status, live in the agency’s 20-county EMA (eligible metropolitan area), and have a gross annual income less than 300 percent of the federal poverty level. A photo ID is not required. The volunteer-driven organization relies heavily on donations and contributions. One of the organization’s biggest community events and fundraisers is the AIDS Walk & 5K Run. This year, the 28th annual walk/run will be held at Piedmont Park on October 21. Participants in the AIDS Walk & 5K Run will raise money for the organization’s seven participating local HIV/AIDS programs. This year’s goal is to raise $750,000. Living Room is the state’s largest facilitator of emergency and transitional housing for people living with HIV/AIDS. According to the organization’s website, Living Room is Atlanta’s centralized intake and housing information and referral agency, able to assist more than 1,500 individuals each year and make an important difference in their lives. Sister Mary Jane Lubinski founded the organization in 1995 as part of Trinity Community Ministries to assist people living with HIV/AIDS find stable, affordable housing. It became a 501c3 organization four years later. For Sister Mary Jane, housing was not just an essential part of helping people to maintain human dignity, but as foundation of effective treatment of HIV. Sister Mary Jane’s Living Room has, over the years, made itself one of the go-to places for low-income people living with HIV/ AIDS who have fallen on hard times due to health. Living Room is one avenue to help find affordable housing so that living on the streets isn’t their only option. The agency provides subsidized supportive housing, housing referrals, and housingrelated emergency assistance. The programs and services are tailored to meet the diverse needs and situations of their clients.
August 17, 2018
More than 90 percent of their clients are defined as extremely low income, so finding and maintaining affordable housing is essential to preventing homelessness. The group serves the 29-county Atlanta area and rural Northwest Georgia area around Rome and Dalton. They have over eight programs they believe will help to end homelessness for people living with HIV/AIDS. The programs consist of emergency lodging, supportive housing, tenant-based rental assistance, special needs housing assistance, permanent housing placement, short-term rent/ mortgage utility assistance, recuperative care, and housing counseling. Living Room relies on donations and volunteers to help fulfill their mission. Living Room uses 85¢ of every dollar donated on those services. Of the remaining, 9¢ covers rent, technology, phone, and internet service, office supplies, staff benefits (including health insurance), printing, board development, and administrative staff salaries. Donations they receive are continually used to one day end the problem of homelessness for people with HIV/AIDS. Dennie Doucher founded The Health Initiative as The Atlanta Lesbian Cancer Initiative in 1996. Doucher and her friends were motivated to create the organization after they experienced homophobia and lack of support for partners and caregivers when they sought healthcare. ALCI provided support groups for lesbians and set their sights on educating the medical community on how to cater to their lesbian patients. Doucher died of breast cancer two years after the organization’s founding. Since her death, the organization has awarded the Dennie Doucher Healing Angel Award to people who have dedicated time to bettering the healthcare experiences of LGBTQ people. Past Healing Angels include Charis Books and More and Decatur Women’s Sports League founder Anne “Sarge” Barr. The award recipients are honored at the organization’s annual Garden Party, which also serves as a fundraiser. In 2004, The Atlanta Lesbian Cancer Initiative became the Atlanta Lesbian Health Initiative to address other health and wellness issues that affect lesbians. The organization changed its name one more time to The Health Initiative in 2011 and expanded its focus to include the healthcare needs of every member of Atlanta’s LGBTQ community. The organization established their health fund in 2008 to assist uninsured and underinsured LGBTQ people. Those in need of aid can apply for funding online during certain dates each month. The Health Initiative also partners with local medical clinics to make referrals for LGBTQ-friendly healthcare. Their partners include Grady Health System, Center For Black Women’s Wellness, Metropolitan Counseling Services, AbsoluteCARE Atlanta, and Planned Parenthood of Georgia. The Health Initiative also provides cultural competency training for healthcare providers interested in gaining a better understanding of the needs of LGBTQ people. The training includes information on proper LGBTQ terminology, health disparities, and how to make sure an environment is LGBTQ friendly. The trainings can be hosted onsite or in The Health Initiative’s facility. The Health Initiative has a partnership with SAGE (Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders). This program is dedicated to alleviating the challenges of aging LGBTQ people. SAGE Atlanta helps LGBTQ elders access healthcare, advocates for LGBTQ senior rights, gives elders opportunities to socialize with each other, and provides educational resources on LGBTQ aging. The Health Initiative hosts a variety of events including healthcare screenings, town halls, and support groups. Their most recent event was a Fat Kid Dance Party, co-hosted by body-positive activist and fitness instructor Bevin Branlandingham. National AIDS Education & Services for Minorities, Inc. is dedicated to addressing health and wellness matters relevant to black, gay men. The organization was created in 1990 by Rudolph H. Carn, Madam Edna Brown, and Mae Gratis Reed during the height of the HIV/AIDS crisis. The organization’s original focus centered squarely on education through workshops