Local and Community News
Florida Ministers to Create Center for Homeless HIV/AIDS Patients
November 8, 2002
Phil Polson and Paul Ciucci say they are on a mission from God. They hope to take possession of the former Cabot Point assisted living facility in Bradenton, Fla., and convert it, by the first of the year, into transitional housing for 78 of the area's homeless, specifically for those with HIV/AIDS.
The two, who are affiliated with the Jubilee Church of the Rock, say they have lined up sponsors to pay the $12,000 monthly rent for the first year. And they believe they have the financing to buy the building for $1.75 million in 2004. What they need now is a $48,000 down payment. Twelve businesses have pledged $1,000 a month toward rent, and four Manatee County doctors have volunteered to run a general care clinic, Polson said. "The rooms are completely furnished," he said. "All we need to do is move in."
Plans call for using one wing of the facility for homeless people with HIV/AIDS. The other two wings will be reserved for homeless individuals or families. The homeless will be able to stay at the facility for six months rent-free. Counselors will help them hone job skills and find employment. Once they are earning money, a portion of their paychecks will be placed in their own escrow accounts to build up funds to cover down payments for permanent housing. Polson and Ciucci said they will coordinate medical care for HIV/AIDS residents through a clinic operated by Manatee County Rural Health Services.
The two pastors want to pattern their AIDS housing program on a model developed by Ray Highfield of His Touch HIV/AIDS Ministries, an international organization. HIV/AIDS education and ministry is a top priority for most of the congregation: Nearly half of the 100 members have been trained by Manatee County Health Department to perform HIV/AIDS testing and counseling.
11.04.02; Donna Wright
This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.