Texas: At Samaritan House, the Focus Is on Living
March 20, 2012
Samaritan House was originally conceived in 1991 as a hospice for those dying with HIV/AIDS. Today, the Forth Worth organization is a thriving group concentrated on living.
"There wasn't much hope then," said Steve Dutton, who joined the organization's board in 1995, became executive director within six months, and is now president and CEO.
However, with the advent of antiretroviral therapy affording patients longer, healthier lives, Samaritan House boasts new facilities and more comprehensive services -- including affordable housing, job training, literacy help, mental health counseling, and addiction treatment -- for its more than 400 clients. "I have to pinch myself sometimes," Dutton said.
Since 2001, Samaritan House has doubled its capacity and increased its programming, which includes transitioning clients into private living quarters, exercise classes, gardening lessons, and access to a commercial kitchen where supper clubs alternate dinner preparation.
"It has gone far beyond what we initially thought we could or needed to do," said Stephen L. Tatum, a Fort Worth attorney and Samaritan House founding board chair. "It has evolved into a wonderful, full-service agency."
The client base has changed from being primarily white men in the beginning to being about 40 percent African-American. With women filling about 25 percent of beds, Samaritan House obtained a federal tax credit to erect the Villages of Samaritan House. The project includes three buildings with 66 affordable apartments for families and others affected by HIV/AIDS.
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
03.13.2012; Alex Branch
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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