Press Release – New York, NY (November 30, 2017) – The Amida Care Fund at Stonewall Community Foundation announced today that it has awarded a total of $20,000 in new grants for innovative HIV prevention and services to several community-based organizations to help them continue their important work in the communities they serve. The 2017 grantees are Community Kinship Life, HEAT, Pride Center of Staten Island, Sylvia Rivera Law Project, Translatina Network, and Trinity Place Shelter. Grant recipients are selected based on their outstanding work to address HIV/AIDS in LGBTQ communities throughout New York City.
Amida Care, the largest Medicaid Special Needs Health Plan (SNP) in New York State, provides comprehensive coverage and coordinated care to New Yorkers with chronic conditions including HIV, and people who are homeless or of transgender experience regardless of HIV status. The Amida Care Fund at Stonewall Community Foundation was established as part of Amida Care’s privately funded Live Your Life wellness program and is focused on supporting work that advances Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Blueprint to End the AIDS Epidemic in New York State by 2020.
The Fund supports HIV education, prevention, intervention, and treatment programs that engage New Yorkers who are at greater risk of acquiring HIV—such as young men of color who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender women—and those who are HIV-positive but not virally suppressed or receiving necessary access to care.
“This World AIDS Day, we’re proud to recognize and support organizations that help break down the barriers of stigma, discrimination, homophobia, transphobia, and rigidity around gender expression. These organizations also address socioeconomic challenges like poverty, unemployment, unstable housing, and food insecurity and provide access to HIV prevention methods like PrEP and PEP, HIV testing, and treatment,” said Doug Wirth, President and CEO of Amida Care. “We’ve made great progress in the fight to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic, but we have much more work to do. We must reach the communities most severely affected, particularly transgender individuals and young MSM of color. Amida Care is proud to work in partnership with the Stonewall Community Foundation to support organizations that are providing essential community-based services to New York City’s LGBTQ and gender non-conforming communities.”
“Community-based organizations can help people live fulfilling, authentic lives, even in the face of vulnerability” said Jarrett Lucas, Executive Director of Stonewall Community Foundation. “Supporting groups and projects that invest in LGBTQ youth is particularly important to achieve an AIDS-free generation and a healthier and more equitable New York. We are honored to continue our work with Amida Care to provide this much-needed grassroots funding to our grantee partners.”
Grant awards support a range of HIV-related programs and services:
Community Kinship Life provides the transgender community with the tools needed to achieve their personal goals while having a sense of community and kinship. This includes providing information related to health, employment, and social interactions that will help people lead the most productive life during and after transition. The Fund’s grant award will help to support the organization’s Sex Workers’ Advocacy Team (SWAT) Program, which works on the ground to educate sex workers and share information about safer sex and harm reduction strategies.
HEAT (Health and Education Alternatives for Teens) is the only program of its kind in Brooklyn that provides comprehensive medical and mental health care, supportive services, and access to clinical research for HIV-positive and at-risk youth. Its YMSM/T Health Project works to eliminate the spread of HIV among low-income black and Latino young men who have sex with men and transgender youth. The Fund’s grant award to HEAT will support the YMSM/T Health Project’s House Calls program, a community-based HIV and sexually transmitted infection (STI) screening initiative.
Pride Center of Staten Island empowers LGBTQ individuals and families living on Staten Island to achieve their fullest potential. The Center creates a visible, safe, and welcoming space, offers comprehensive resources, provides LGBTQ empowering programs and events, and celebrates diversity. The Fund’s grant award will support the Center’s HIV Prevention Program, which provides comprehensive HIV, STI, and Hepatitis C prevention services.
The Sylvia Rivera Law Project works to guarantee that all people are free to self-determine gender identity and expression, regardless of income or race, and without facing harassment, discrimination, or violence. The Project’s Transgender Healthcare Initiative is an HIV prevention and care program that provides direct legal services to transgender and gender-nonconforming clients to address the challenges that lead to disproportionate HIV infection in these communities. The Fund’s grant will help to support the goals of the initiative, which include increasing access to gender-affirming identity documents and safe, affordable health care; providing legal services and referrals, including assistance with matters related to accessing care; and training service providers on creating trans-inclusive and affirming services.
Translatina Network, a program housed within the LGBT Community Center in Manhattan, is a network of transgender Latinas whose aim is to promote the healthy development of transgender people through outreach, education, and capacity building, allowing the creation of a safe, productive, and equitable environment. The grant award will support the program’s HIV education, employment, and community outreach activities targeting transgender women of color, who are disproportionately impacted by the HIV epidemic.
Trinity Place Shelter supports homeless LGBT youth and young adults in New York City to safely transition out of the shelter system and grow into independent, positive, and productive adults. The Fund’s grant award will help to support the 10-bed shelter that provides LGBTQ homeless youth with a safe place to sleep and eat, and connects them to transportation, counseling, HIV prevention, and health services.
The Fund’s grant selection committee is composed of Amida Care executives, senior staff, and members of the health plan. Committee members have many years of experience working directly with HIV-affected populations in New York and an in-depth understanding of the communities served by the grant recipients. Amida Care’s goal is to continue to raise more money to increase the Fund and expand financial support for this critical work. To donate, please visit http://www.amidacareny.org/about-us/support-our-work/.
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