On September 27, a star-studded benefit will raise funds for Bailey House’s program for HIV+ and LGBT youth. Bailey House, the second-oldest AIDS service organization in the nation and the first to provide housing, has thirty-one years of experience addressing homelessness and poverty among New York City’s most vulnerable citizens, those affected by HIV/AIDS.
For Bailey House CEO Gina Quattrochi, the organization’s mission of serving low-income people with HIV/AIDS is “concrete and inspired.”
“I wanted to work in the fight against HIV/AIDS,” said Quattrochi. “I was moved by the deaths of college friends who died in the first year of the epidemic.”
Quattrochi served on the board of Bailey House for several years prior to becoming CEO in 1991. Founded in 1983 as the AIDS Resource Center, the organization was renamed in 1995 to honor one of its founders, the Reverend Mead Miner Bailey. Over the years Bailey House has widened its reach to serve thousands of low-income people throughout the city who are affected by HIV/AIDS and other chronic illnesses.
Housing remains a key component of Bailey House’s services, though recently the organization has also been expanding its health and wellness programs to serve more people from economically distressed areas of the city like East Harlem, the location of the agency’s headquarters.
As Quattrochi puts it, “To end HIV incidence we have to address the social determinants of health. Poverty and homelessness are key drivers of HIV incidence. The goal of Bailey House programs is to remove barriers to care and help clients achieve health, wellness and community. These are powerful outcomes.”
The city faces a chronic shortage of shelter beds for LGBT youth, and Bailey House strives to house this particularly vulnerable population; the agency has offered housing for LGBT young people since 1997. In early 2014, Bailey House’s supportive housing program for HIV+ and LGBT youth will expand to include 53 apartments, up from the current 28. Eight of those units are dedicated to transgender young people, a high-risk group in terms of HIV prevalence and one with few supportive housing options available.
All proceeds from the upcoming benefit will go towards Bailey House’s LGBT youth program. The evening will feature a silent auction, with exciting items including autographed Maroon 5 memorabilia and VIP tickets to Jimmy Fallon. Jerry Mitchell and Matt Letscher will serve as Honorary Chairs, with Ten Travis serving as Honorary Co-Chair.
The highlight of the event will be musical performances from young stars such as Steve Grand and American Idol’s Diana DeGarmo and Ace Young. Musicians Frankie Grande, Emma Hunton, Cary Nokey and Kelly King will also be singing live at the benefit, with music by DJ Zeke Thomas.
“Almost 40% of all new HIV cases are among youth ages 13-29,” Quattrochi said. “We are grateful that these young people are taking time to spread HIV awareness to the millennial generation.”
In addition to the event, Bailey House has been hard at work with other projects. Last February, the agency launched the only behavioral health clinic in the city that is harm-reduction-based and LGBT-inclusive.
“It’s also bilingual and located in the East Harlem area, where there is little availability of mental health services,” said Quattrochi. “It’s a good start for a behavioral health clinic.”
So what’s next for the CEO of Bailey House?
“Kicking ass to get the government to do the right thing now,” Quattrochi laughed.
Held at the LQNY in New York City, the event will run from 7:30 to 11:00 pm; buy tickets here.