Effective July 1, CCHAS Will Be Closed
It is with much regret that Central Coast HIV/AIDS Services (formerly known as John XXIII AIDS Ministry) the only local non-profit serving individuals and families affected by HIV/AIDS in Monterey & San Benito Counties, must inform the community at large that effective July 1st, its doors will be closed for good. All current services will continue through June 30, 2015.
Since 1988, Central Coast HIV/AIDS Services has provided compassionate services for thousands of people living with or affected by HIV/AIDS and their loved ones. Unfortunately, since 2009, the agency has grappled with cuts from a range of funders. State funds for HIV housing, case management, and early intervention programs were completely zeroed out of the State budget, as well as support for all HIV prevention programs, including those that target high-risk populations and HIV testing and counseling. Additionally, the agency had also been battling a trend of decline in local private donor support for their services as well. As medications have become more effective at treating the illness, the public views the need for housing and supportive services as a low priority.
The trend is not a local phenomenon. Many community based AIDS Services Organizations across the country are struggling too, due to policy shifts in Federal priorities for HIV/AIDS testing and treatment. This has especially affected organizations located in geographic areas with lower rates of population infected with HIV/AIDS when compared with urban centers. “The community need in rural areas is still present. Approximately 50% of those infected with HIV/AIDS will need housing, medical and case management assistance at some point during their illness”, said Kim Keefer, Executive Director. “However, we had to come to grips with the reality that our funding had not been meeting our expenses for some time and the agency could not sustain operating on a cash flow basis. The Board of Directors had to critically evaluate the viability of continuing to function with the threat of a net loss looming. Without any other options, they voted in February to close the agency as of June 30th.”
An approach to community partners began immediately to identify any who would be in a financial position to absorb any of the service programs. As of July 1st, Access Support Network from San Luis Obispo will have an established presence in Monterey County and will be continuing a portion of the services that Central Coast HIV/AIDS provided, including the AIDS Drug Assistance Program enrollments (ADAP - open site), HOPWA short term rent and utility assistance, emergency motel vouchers and the Calm Waters permanent supportive housing program. All other services and programs currently available through Central Coast HIV/AIDS Services will end as of June 30th. A local office location that will be occupied by Access Support Network staff is still in the process of being secured.
JeriAnn Shapiro, Board Chairperson, commented, “We are all saddened and leave with heavy hearts but feel confident that our clients can continue to receive the professional, compassionate care they deserve through the Access Support Network.”
If you are in need of services past June 30th, 2015, please contact the Access Support Network for additional information on service availability or to schedule an intake at (805) 781-3660. We will do our best to update this information once a local office location has been secured.