Home, hope and community—for over 32 years.
In 1983, a group of visionary and compassionate men and women organized the nation’s first response to homelessness among men living with AIDS.
Starting with just a few apartments in Chelsea and Greenwich Village, they created the AIDS Resource Center. Continuing to advocate on behalf of homeless, with the support of the Koch and Cuomo administrations they opened Bailey House, the nation’s first congregate residence for people living with HIV/AIDS. Its visible presence on the corner of Christopher Street and the West Side Highway in Greenwich Village marked a significant milestone—it was the first time that any agency publicly acknowledged and funded a program that addressed poverty and homelessness among people with AIDS. Stable, supportive housing became a demand of AIDS activists in New York City and around the nation.
In 1986, we opened Bailey-Holt House, the nation’s first congregate residence for people living with AIDS. It provided tangible proof that stable housing helps people living with AIDS survive. As treatments evolved and the perception of AIDS changed from a death sentence to a serious, but manageable chronic illness we continued to add new programs and innovate new models of housing.
In 1995, we officially changed our name from the AIDS Resource Center to Bailey House in honor one of our founders, Reverend Mead Miner Bailey. At the same time, we renamed the residence on Christopher Street to Bailey-Holt House in recognition of the tremendous support of legendary Broadway producer Fritz Holt. By then thousands of men, women and children were infected, many grappling with poverty and homelessness. In the spirit of our founders, we expanded and moved our programs into East Harlem, Bedford Stuyvesant, Flatbush, Clinton (Hell’s Kitchen), Harlem, the Lower East Side, the South Bronx, Astoria, Jamaica and other neighborhoods with the highest incidence of HIV-infection and poverty.
In 1997, we opened a second headquarters, East Harlem Service Center, to address the needs of critically underserved communities including East Harlem, Harlem, and the South Bronx. There we offered bilingual, drop-in services to people living with HIV/AIDS throughout New York City. We added job training, a food pantry, housing placement and substance abuse services. A few years later, we created Project FIRST, one of the nation’s first housing programs for HIV-infected men and women leaving prison.
Schafer Hall, a 91-unit supportive housing residence opened in East Harlem in 2001. Against the backdrop of the terrible tragedy of 9/11, 30 families headed by HIV-positive parents and 30 single HIV-positive adults moved into this new building. They started their lives over, armed with the support of Bailey House staff that provided them with hope and the services they needed to stabilize and maintain their housing and health.
Today Bailey House serves more than 1800 men, women and children living with HIV/AIDS and other chronic illnesses in neighborhoods throughout New York City. We provide housing and services that help clients address homelessness, poverty, hunger, substance use, mental illness and other critical issues that make survival hard, if not impossible. We look forward to expanding our services and providing home, hope and community to thousands more men, women and children living with poverty and HIV/AIDS in New York City.