Melissa Grove

Money will help agency provide counseling to people who are unable to afford care

DAVID TAFFET | Staff Writer

Legacy Counseling Center has received a $25,000 grant from the Meadows Foundation.

This is the second grant the agency has received from the foundation. The first was in 1997. That grant helped Legacy open Legacy Founders Cottage, the Oak Cliff facility that provides special care in a homelike environment for people living with AIDS in critical stages of their illness who require 24-hour supervision.

Legacy Counseling Center is the Southwest’s largest provider of mental health and substance abuse services directed specifically to persons challenged with HIV and AIDS.

The grant will help provide counseling for people who can’t otherwise afford it and don’t fit other grant sources.

Legacy Executive Director Melissa Grove said, “This grant allows us to accept anyone who needs care.”

She said that Meadows used to focus more on capital improvement funding. Her organization used the money from the 1997 grant to make the cottage more handicapped accessible with more security.

“Those are benefits that are lasting to this day,” she said.

With the current economy, she said, Meadows opened their funding to other types of services.

“One of the reasons we requested the funding,” she said, “We’re seeing more people than ever with so many people out of work.”

She said that over the years issues among her clients has changed.

“When I first started, we were helping people deal with the fact they were going to die,” Grove said. “Now we help people learn how to live.”

But even over the last few years, she said, the issues have changed. There’s a lot more workplace stress today.

“While it’s illegal to fire someone who is positive, it happens all the time,” she said. “If someone is positive and driving up the premiums, that’s the first person laid off.”

Grove was proud of her agency’s quick response when necessary.

“This morning we got a call from the health department about someone in crisis,” she said. “We got them in within 30 minutes.”

She also told the success story of one of her clients who gave her a signed release to tell the story. She said he had been homeless for years. He came to the cottage from Parkland.

“We got him healthy, on HIV meds for the first time and into our substance abuse program,” she said.

Now he’s living in his own apartment for the first time, functioning and coming to group. Grove said that while he’s on disability now, she has even higher hopes for him in the future.

She said that was an example of an extreme case that is now easier for Legacy to handle with the grant money.

Meadows Foundation was founded in 1948 and has provided more than half a billion dollars to more than 2,000 Texas agencies in Texas.