Former Samaritan House board chair named CEO

The Board of Directors of Samaritan House, Inc. has selected former board chair Norbert White as its new president and CEO.

White stepped down from his position as chairman earlier this year to apply for the position after Steve Dutton announced he was leaving the role in April. Dutton will retire at the end of the year after 15 years as the agency’s leader.

Samaritan House provides housing and support services for persons living with HIV/AIDS.

White, who has volunteered with the organization since 2008, was selected from a large pool of applicants because of his familiarity with the organization and his leadership during the year he was board chair, as well as his experience in senior management in the for-profit sector.

He is currently a national client relations consultant based in D-FW for World Class Coaches, international personal and professional coaching company.

Jim Johnson, current board chair, said in a statement that the board “is excited to support Norbert’s cross-over to the CEO’s role in the organization and believes that he will help strengthen the management team we have in place and continue our success in transforming lives.”

—  Anna Waugh

Sewing supplies needed for new LGBT youth program at Samaritan House

A new program aimed at helping LGBT youth find a passion for fashion is in the works, and donations are needed to help kick-start the program.

The Sew and Sew program was inspired by the three-month Project Success 1 art program, which the Fort Worth Police Department sponsored along with Samaritan House in March to help at-risk and homeless youth, Fort Worth LGBT Liaison Officer Kellie Whitehead said.

Sew and Sew will allow LGBT youth to work on their creativity and learn how to sew. Events throughout the year, such as a Halloween costume festival, will allow them to showcase their talent, Whitehead said.

“It’s a pilot education and training program for LGBT youth and allies to teach business skills and self-esteem,” she said. “It’s really just a safe place for them to meet mentors and really do what they like.”

The program may eventually focus on fashion design or whatever the youth want to focus on, Whitehead said, as she wants the program to become what LGBT youth need.

Whitehead said the program will begin with a meeting at Samaritan House in September, and the group will meet every Monday from 4:30-6:30 p.m.

Sewing supplies needed range from sewing machines, fabric, thread, buttons, zippers and scissors. Donations can be dropped off at Samaritan House at 929 Hemphill St. in Fort Worth. For more information, contact Whitehead at 817-688-3211 or kellie.whitehead@fortworthgov.org.

—  Anna Waugh

AIDS at 30: North Texas ASO info

AIDS service organizations in North Texas offer a variety of programs and services to people with HIV/AIDS — from case management, to meals, to housing. Here is a list of the major ASOs in North Texas, what programs and services they offer now, and what they plan to offer in the future:

• AIDS ARMS
351 West Jefferson Blvd. Suite 300
Dallas 75208; 214-521-5191
Founded: 1986
What they do: HIV testing and prevention, long term risk reduction intervention, community outreach and education, client eligibility and intake, case management, outpatient medical care, medication assistance, medical case management, substance abuse and mental health treatment and support, prison outreach and community re-entry, support groups, client education.
What’s new and upcoming: In May, AIDS Arms broke ground on their second clinic that should open by the end of the summer. In addition to providing health services for persons with HIV not currently accessing medical care, the new facility will have resource rooms to bring the services of a variety of agencies under one roof.
A new pharmacy will open in the facility to provide the medications needed by clients.
Research will take place at the new clinic including looking into new PrEP treatments for persons with HIV.

• AIDS Interfaith Network
501 N. Stemmons, Suite 200
Dallas TX 75207; 214-941-7696
Founded: 1986
What they do: Outreach, linguistic services, HIV prevention and prevention for minority women, client advocacy, transportation services, The Daire Center adult daycare, meals program, volunteer services, pastoral services.
What’s new and upcoming: Programmatically, Executive Director Steven Pace said the agency would like to shift more resources to prevention. Pace put together a coalition of four agencies — AIN, ASD, Legacy and Legal Hospice of Texas — that plan to locate in one building. The Coalition for HIV/AIDS Services, as the multi-tenant non-profit center will be known, is negotiating for a building in North Oak Cliff and hope to begin renovation in 2012. The new building would eliminate leasing, allow the agencies to pool some services and equipment and provide one-stop shopping for clients.

• AIDS Outreach Center
400 North Beach Street
Fort Worth 76111
817-335-1994
Founded: 1986
What they do: The Sandy Lanier Nutrition Center, Geisel-Morris Dental Clinic, medical case management and mental health counseling programs.
What’s new and upcoming: Two years ago, AOC began offering more direct medical services with its dental clinic. Over the next two to three years, Executive Director Allen Gould said his agency would like to add more direct medical services including a clinic and a pharmacy to meet all of the needs of clients in one central location. He said they are determining whether to partner or build on their own to provide the services that would compliment what’s being done at the public hospitals.

• AIDS Service Dallas
P.O. Box 4338
Dallas 75208
214-941-0523
Founded: 1985 as the People With AIDS Coalition
What they do: Housing. ASD operates four apartment complexes to serve 225 men, women and children in 125 privately configured apartments.
What’s new and upcoming: ASD partners with Community Housing Development Organization developers to create models of senior housing throughout North Texas. As a consultant/co-developer, ASD receives incentive fees, which is unrestricted money that goes toward AIDS programs. The agency already owns three lots behind Hillcrest House. ASD President and CEO Don Maison said that they’re working on zoning so they can develop the property. With 350 people on the waiting list for housing, Maison said he hopes to develop additional housing in Oak Cliff and elsewhere in the city.

• Anthony Chisom AIDS Foundation
P.O. Box 225104
Dallas, Texas 75222
Phone: 214-239-9145
Founded: 2008
What they do: Bring support, health and medicine to people living with HIV/AIDS in the form of help with COBRA payment assistance, medication payment assistance, bus passes, rent, utility and emergency assistance.
What’s new and upcoming: “We’re a new agency, so we’re securing more funding to do more of what we’re already doing,” said Anthony Chisom. In the fall, the agency hopes to be able to include cell phone bills in its utility assistance program. This fall, Chisom is taking an exploratory trip to Malawi with hope to open a clinic there and is looking for partners to help make that happen.

• A Sister’s Gift
1515 N. Town East Blvd. #138-380
Mesquite 75150
214-421-4274
Founded: 2003
What they do: Services for women with HIV including testing, counseling and group sessions, short-term emergency assistance, case management, buddy program, education programs.
What’s new and upcoming: “Being a seven-year-old agency, our primary agency objectives center around introducing the community and stakeholders to our female-based service structure — being apparent females living with HIV need a different type of support than what was provided 30 years ago,” said Executive Director and CEO Cheryl Lewis Edwards. “Our long-term strategic plan hopes that ASG can serve as a catalyst for the community, clients and families to talk about HIV with the same ease the public now speaks about breast cancer.”

• Health Services of North Texas
4210 Mesa Drive
Denton, Texas 76207
940-381-1501
Founded: 1988 as AIDS Services of North Texas
What they do: With offices in Denton, Plano and Greenville, HSNT serves a five-county area including Rockwall and Kaufman Counties and areas of Dallas north of LBJ Freeway. HSNT provides a variety of services from HIV testing to transportation, primary health care services, food pantry, insurance assistance and case management.
What’s new and upcoming: The agency is focusing on becoming a Federally Qualified Health Center and expanding in the direction of providing primary health care to low-income people while continuing a special focus on persons with HIV.

• Legal Hospice of Texas
3626 N. Hall, Suite 820
Dallas 75219
214-521-6622
Founded: in 1989 as Dallas Legal Hospice
What they do: Legal services for low-income persons diagnosed with terminal illnesses or HIV disease.
What’s new and upcoming: Executive Director Roger Wedell said that as people live longer, the cases his agency handles become more complex. Founded to do simple estate planning, Legal Hospice now works on complex long-term disability and employment issues that may take months to resolve. He said he thought that trend will continue.

• Legacy Counseling Center
4024 McKinney Ave., Suite 102
Dallas 75204
214-520-6308
Founded: 1991
What they do: Mental healthcare, substance abuse treatment, and special care housing services for people challenged with HIV and AIDS.
What’s new and upcoming: Executive Director Melissa Grove said that Legacy has had 1100 percent growth over the last decade. The agency is looking for new therapists, especially gay male therapists, to meet the need. Legacy is also planning to expand its women’s programs so that women from around the state can attend its retreats. Fewer terminal patients stay at Legacy Cottage that once exclusively did hospice care. More people are at a crucial moment of their illness who are integrated back into a productive life.

• Resource Center Dallas
3701 Reagan St.
Dallas 75219
Founded: in 1983 as the Foundation for
Human Understanding
What they do: Operate the AIDS Resource Center, Nelson Tebedo Clinic, AIDS Food Pantry as well as the Gay and Lesbian Community Center.
What’s new and upcoming: Currently RCD is expanding dental programs and has a capital campaign to build new community center on land already purchased that is adjacent to Cathedral of Hope on the corner of Inwood and Cedar Springs Roads. The Center will bring all of its programs under one roof and continue to provide additional meeting space and services for community groups. Executive Director Cece Cox said that over the next few years, the agency is looking to expand a number of health programs to the general LGBT community that are now funded only for people with HIV and a new major focus will be general wellness programs.

• Samaritan House
929 Hemphill St.
Fort Worth 76104
817-332-6410
Founded: 1991
What they do: Housing and resources for persons living with HIV/AIDS and other special needs in Fort Worth.
What’s new and upcoming: After being refused a zoning variance last year for an additional property, Samaritan House recently began a collaboration with another non-profit to operate 184 units of quality, affordable housing for low-income individuals and families. Over the next few years, President and CEO Steve Dutton said that he hopes to provide additional housing for people with HIV/AIDS.

—  John Wright

Como says no to Samaritan House plan

Residents of the Fort Worth neighborhood of Como voted Thursday night to oppose a plan by Samaritan House to build a $15 million living center in their neighborhood, according to a report today in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Samaritan House’s current facility, on Hemphill Street just west of Rosedale, provides housing for homeless, low-income people with HIV. The proposed facility, which would house 150 to 200 men, women and children, would not be restricted to those with HIV. Residency there would instead be based on income, and residents would be offered services such as jobs  training, literacy classes and substance abuse treatment.

Como is on the west side of Fort Worth, south of Interstate 30 and just east of Camp Bowie Boulevard.

The vote, held by the Como Neighborhood Advisory Council, was 365-41 against the new living center, and was restricted to those who could prove their ties to the neighborhood. The Como residents have also vowed to take their vote to the Fort Worth City Council when it meets Tuesday, although Councilman Carter Burdette — who represents the district in which Como is located — said Thursday the council likely had no power to stop the Samaritan House development.

Burdette said that although the council is considering giving $61,000 the city received in federal housing funds to the project, “If they don’t get it from us, they might go get it from someone else.”

Some of those opposing the project said Como already has enough issues to deal with, and doesn’t need more people with problems moving into the area.

—  admin

Happy anniversary Z's Cafe´

Z’s Cafe´ over in Fort Worth will celebrate its one-year anniversary with a party on Friday, Feb. 12, from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Fort Worth Community Arts Center.

According to a press release on the event, “Z’s Café is a family-owned business committed to offering affordable and delicious food. At Z’s, employees can develop skills and build self-confidence, and everyone who walks through the door is treated like family.”

The cafe´ partners with Samaritan House, the housing facility in Tarrant County for people with HIV/AIDS, to provide employment for Samaritan House residents. Carlo Capua said: “Our community partnership with Samaritan House has created jobs for 22 of their residents, many of whom never thought they’d have a second chance to find personal or professional success. It’s taken baby steps, but this partnership has become both successful and sustainable, which is something to celebrate.”

—  admin