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Press Conference and Rally to Save GMHC

[editors note: ACT UP voted to endorse this rally and press conference
tomorrow Wed May 19, from noon-2pm in front of the GMHC 119w 24th St
NYC (Bet. 6th & 7th Aves, trains 1, F & V to 23rd St)

Please join this important effort. An update will be coming later
tonight or tomorrow morning.]

When: Wednesday, May 19, 2010 - from 12 to 2 pm
Where: in front of the GMHC 119w 24th St NYC (Bet. 6th & 7th Aves,
trains 1,F & V to 23rd St)


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Organized by the Consumer Advisory Board - CAB of GMHC
For immediate release: GMHC in Crisis - Rally & Press Conference :

The GMHC Consumer Advisory Board (CAB) is asking CEO for the
community involvement and help in finding a new building for at least
2 years. Instead, the Board of Directors took that responsibility
upon itself and produced a building with so many restrictions that
prompted the CAB to request a meeting with the whole Board, which
never happened. Now we fear the lease will be signed despite general
opposition. The CAB is demanding a meeting with the whole Board of
Directors and other GMHC stakeholders before the lease is signed. If
the board continues with plans to sign the lease despite the CAB and
other stake holders opposition we are prepared to have a series of
rallies at  450 W. 33rd Street, the site of the new proposed location
(AP Building).

And the deal breakers are:
*Not having an in house fully functioning kitchen and a meals program
as we have had for the past 25 years. The meals program is the #1
most utilized service and also has social implications.
*No dinner on Fridays (Friday dinner is the most popular service among
clients)
*No HIV Testing. Federal, State and City policies focus reducing HIV
rates by increasing HIV testing and connecting people diagnosed HIV +
to services.

*Ability to hold large meetings (no more than75 people)
*The Clinic downstairs. On the CAB survey 30% of clients surveyed
would not continue coming to GMHC if we don't have a clinic
downstairs.
*Side entrance for People with AIDS. Clients must use a segregated
entrance while staff can use the main entrance, reinforcing HIV
stigma, homophobia & racism
*Distance to the Subway, especially in the winter, 2 long avenue blocks
away.
*Construction plans for the whole area.

Any of these deal breakers will result is loss of clients and should
be reason enough to reject this proposed building, combined they
spell disaster for GMHC.
The CAB wants a transparent process.

We have suggested the following alternatives which went untouched:
That GMHC continue looking for a temporary building where all
services will be preserved including the clinic downstairs.

Ask for the landlord for an extension on the lease of this building.

Find a building and survey client's opinion before signing the lease.

Look in other neighborhoods for a building with easy subway access,
where we can keep all services while looking for a permanent building
to acquire.

Please attend the rally and support the CAB, Clients, Staff,
Volunteers and Community, GMHC belongs to you.