Daire Center won’t have to compete for scarce funds in wake of city cuts
AIDS Interfaith Network has received a $50,000 grant from the Dallas Foundation to help fund its meals program at the Howie Daire Center.
The Rev. Steven Pace, AIN’s executive director, said the grant would help guarantee operation of the program for the next year.
AIN lost city funding this fall for HIV prevention and education, and last year the meals program lost federal funding when guidelines changed to assist only meals programs at residential facilities.
Pace said this grant keeps AIN’s meals program from competing with the agency’s other services for tight resources.
The grant money comes from the Safety Net Fund of the Dallas Foundation targeting necessities like housing, food and transportation.
AIN provides transportation for medically related appointments and services, and Pace said the transportation program is among the agency’s best funded.
The Daire Center serves breakfast and lunch to its clients and, for those who need it, provides bagged meals for dinner. Meals cost the agency $6 per person per day.
AIN Board Chair Andy Smith said that 46 percent of the agency’s clients are homeless and many others are in transitional housing. The meals program serves about 500 men, women and children with HIV, he said.
"It doesn’t help to give people a can of food if they don’t have a can opener," Pace said, adding that often their homeless clients have no way to store or prepare food that they could get from a food pantry.
Pace said that during the economic crisis, the demand for services has increased.
"We already served the poor and very poor. Many who had part-time jobs to supplement their food needs lost their jobs," Pace said.
Despite the difficult economy and the funding cuts, the agency will end the year in the black and is currently debt free.
Pace said Dallas Foundation is instrumental in helping AIN maintain its level of service and that Executive Director Mary Jalonic and Director of Community Philanthropy Laura Smith were instrumental in securing the funds needed for the program.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 13, 2009.