Clients of NY’s GMHC blasting proposed move
Clients of Manhattan-based HIV service provider ‘Gay Men’s Health Crisis’ are protesting the group’s proposed move – out of the city’s primary gay neighborhood, and into a new building which clients say is inadequate. The move stems from a pending rent hike at GMHC’s current building in Chelsea. An advisory board made up of GMHC clients says the new building will force the organization to scale back or CUT services it currently provides. Marcelo Maia chairs the advisory board and says the hardest-hit service will be the hot meals program.
Maia: “GMHC today serves between 300 and 400 people daily, and they cook meals here. That’s the problem, they’re not going to be able to cook over there, because they’re not going to be able to have a fully-functioning kitchen in the new building.”
Maia says if clients can’t get hot meals, they’ll go to another agency whose staff and clientele might not be as welcoming of LGBT people.
Maia: “There are other agencies, even bigger agencies in New York City that also provide food, but people really people safe. Gay people feel safe coming over here. They know they’re not going to be harassed.”
Maia says the new building, which is currently occupied by a television station, has a number of other problems. It’s more than a quarter-mile from the nearesst subway stop. It doesn’t have the capacity for large meetings. And Maia says ‘most insultingly’ – a separate entrance will have to be installed for GMHC’s clients to use – while the organization’s employees will be able to use the main lobby.
Activists and clients say they’ve been unable to get any specifics about the move from GMHC – but they say they do know it hasn’t been finalized yet. GMHC did not return OutQ’s request for comment.