Seattle HIV/AIDS nonprofit to close

Seattle HIV/AIDS nonprofit to close
Lauren Simonds, executive director of Rosehedge/Multifaith Works

SEATTLE -- After 25 years providing housing and support services to people living with HIV/AIDS, the Seattle nonprofit Rosehedge/Multifaith Works has announced it will be closing its doors at the end of the year. But before then, Rosehedge will need to raise $75,000 to find new homes for its 32 current residents.

Executive director Lauren Simonds said government funding to the organization has been cut significantly.

“Since the beginning of 2013, government support has been cut by more than $600,000 and foundation and corporate support has been cut in half,” she said in a press release.  “Many funders no longer see HIV/AIDS as the pressing concern it once was.

Here is the full press release from Rosehedge/Multifaith:

Rosehedge/Multifaith Works, a Seattle nonprofit organization that has provided housing and support services to people living with HIV/AIDS for 25 years, today announced that it will close its doors by the end of 2013. The agency is hard at work finding new homes for every one of its 32 residents.

“We are committed to ensuring that our residents will have a smooth transition to new housing and services over the coming few months,” said Rosehedge/Multifaith Works Executive Director Lauren Simonds.

Simonds pointed to the changing evolution of health care and housing models as well as the challenges in raising funds for small nonprofits like Rosehedge/Multifaith Works as an impetus for the closure.

“Despite our very best efforts over the past few years to raise enough money to support the unique model of housing and care we provide to people with HIV/AIDS, revenues have fallen short,” she said. “Since the beginning of 2013, government support has been cut by more than $600,000 and foundation and corporate support has been cut in half,” Simonds explained.  “Many funders no longer see HIV/AIDS as the pressing concern it once was.

“Our Board of Directors examined every possible solution to allow us to continue our long history of service to people living with HIV/AIDS,” concluded Board President Paul Binder. “Ultimately, our most realistic and responsible course was to decide that we must close the agency and find new homes and services for our residents.”

The reality of HIV/AIDS has changed over the past 25 years since Rosehedge/Multifaith Works was founded. The agency came into being to provide homes, compassionate and caring health care, and a diverse community to support those who were dying – allowing them to die with dignity, surrounded by people who loved them. As medical treatments improved and HIV/AIDS transitioned into a treatable, chronic illness, the organization continued to provide stable housing, 24-hour health care and support services for the most vulnerable individuals.

“We are honored to have walked with so many men and women whose memories continue to live within us,” said long-time Board member Vince Larkin.  “We learned lessons about how a community can respond in crisis, that when we reach out to support another we experience ourselves supported.  We are so proud of the work Rosehedge/Multifaith Works has done in the Seattle community and beyond.”

Rosehedge/Multifaith Works will continue to rely on the generosity of its donors to support its operations through the end of the year. The agency needs to raise $75,000 to fund residents’ housing needs and to facilitate their transition to new homes. Any funds remaining upon the agency’s closure will be donated to an HIV/AIDS organization which shares the organization’s values and mission. To learn more or to make a tax-deductible donation, go to www.rosehedge.org.