An aging Scrooge is a bitter man. He received his diagnosis of HIV many years ago, but because of his wealth, he has been stably housed and taking HHART. His vast resources and social status have helped him maintain his health.
The fate of Bob Crachit and his family is much different. Bob, his wife, and his youngest son Tiny Tim, also have an HIV diagnosis, but with no stable housing and healthcare, the Cratchit family’s future is uncertain. Now facing eviction, doctors fear that the stress from one more trauma will kill Tiny Tim. Stable housing is healthcare and without it, Tiny Tim will not take his meds or show up for his doctor’s appointments. Scrooge doesn’t care and neither do many others.
The Ghost of Holiday Past paid Scrooge a visit to remind him of how he felt when he was first diagnosed. Fear. Stigma. Despair. Tears ran down his face as he remembered all of the funerals he attended. He could hardly call out their names as their spirits appeared alongside the Ghost of Holiday Past. “If you had helped them when they were sick they might have been here to spend the holidays with your sorry self.”
Suddenly Scrooge found himself looking at 1000’s of women and men, looking sick and haggard, waiting in line at a NYC government office. “That’s the office where poor, homeless people with AIDS go for housing.” said the Ghost of Holiday Present. “But how can there be so many?!” screamed Scrooge. “36,537 as of November 2009 and that does not include the HIV infected homeless. New York City only allows emergency housing to those with an AIDS diagnosis. “What do you want me to do?” pleads Scrooge wearily.
In front of Reddens Funeral home on 14 th Street, where countless HIV/AIDS funerals have taken place since the beginning of the epidemic, Scrooge sees a casket in an empty room. “Whose funeral is that?” asks Scrooge. The Ghost of Holiday Yet to Be responds glumly, “Yours. You died 10 years after Bob, his wife and Tiny Tim.” “But how did they die before me? Tiny Tim was just a kid.” “They lost their housing right after the holiday of 2009. They asked you for help but you refused. You said you were playing it safe to see how the market did in 2010.”
Scrooge howled in horror.
“I can’t believe I let Tiny Tim die.
What can I do?!”
Maybe Scrooge isn’t the only person asking that question this holiday season. Come over to 180 Christopher Street or 1751 Park Ave and our countless apartment houses throughout NYC and see HIV/AIDS infected single people, couples and families living in places that look nice …. peaceful. We might not be able to bring back Tiny Tim, but we can make sure the next young man living with HIV/AIDS gets off the street and into the Bailey House STARZ Program. We can make sure Bailey House’s Street Pantry brings food to where homeless HIV infected people need it most. You can help underwrite a Bailey House family for a day, week, month or a year so that what happened to Bob Crattchit and his family never happens to another family living with HIV/AIDS in our City again.