Nonprofit provides housing as health care and support


POSTED: Friday, October 23, 2009

The workers at Gregory House Programs have a saying: “;Housing is health care.”;

“;(Living) without a roof over one's head is quite challenging for a healthy person,”; said Jon Berliner, Gregory House Programs executive director. “;Then add HIV/AIDS.”;

Gregory House Programs, the only agency providing statewide HIV/AIDS housing and support services, is holding an award and silent auction tomorrow at the Hawaii State Art Museum.

Gregory House Programs provides services to about 200 individuals and families each month, mostly through rent subsidy programs funded through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Berliner said.

The nonprofit organization offers emergency shelter and grants, rent subsidies, shelter, plus supportive services for disabled families and individuals, rental and residential assistance, group homes and transitional assistance linked with supportive services.





U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie will be honored at Gregory House Programs' annual Kahu Malama Award Dinner and Silent Auction from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. tomorrow at the Hawaii State Art Museum.


Tickets are available at Gregory House Programs, 770 Kapiolani Blvd., Suite 503, or by calling 592-9022.


The cost is $100, including dinner, an open wine bar sponsored by Barefoot Wine & Bubbly with support from Hula's Bar and Lei Stand, music by Don Conover, songs by Shari Lynn and a silent auction with myriad art pieces, gift certificates and other items.


Star-Bulletin staff


Intensive services are provided up to 24 months in transitional group homes for some homeless people with substance abuse and mental health challenges. “;Our success rate is about 85 percent, which is actually pretty good,”; Berliner said.

Gregory House Programs had $2,191,112 in revenue in the past fiscal year, mostly in private, state and federal grants, according to its annual report. Expenses for housing and services totaled $2,266,310.

He said the organization's goal is to help clients gain skills to get back into the workplace so they can receive benefits “;and get out of the challenges of feeling victimized by having HIV, substance abuse and other issues.”;

A total of 3,071 AIDS cases were reported in Hawaii from 1990 to Dec. 31, 2008, according to the state Department of Health. The number of HIV-positive cases is not known.

Gregory House Programs has a waiting list of 60 people for housing, and it is growing, Berliner said, noting some of the homeless are with friends or relatives or “;living from park to beach or park.”;

“;There is never enough money,”; he said.

Gregory House began in 1988 as a home in upper Makiki offering transitional housing for homeless adults, and it is still being used.

Paul Groesbeck, executive director of Life Foundation, which provides HIV/AIDS testing and counseling, said Gregory House initially “;was more or less like a hospice, people were dying so often. Fortunately, that has greatly changed.

“;But as Gregory folks always say, housing is health. ... If you have certain health care needs, you want to make sure lifesaving medicines are properly stored and able to be taken. Everyone needs a home.”;