Nation’s First Residence for People Living with HIV/AIDS Re-Opens Following Superstorm Sandy Flood Damage
Friday, February 8, 2013, Bailey House held the grand re-opening ceremony for Bailey-Holt House at 180 Christopher Street following extensive damage from Superstorm Sandy in the fall of 2012.
In 1986, Bailey-Holt House opened in Greenwich Village and, as the nation’s first residence for people living with HIV/AIDS, became a concrete symbol of the earliest response to the crisis of the epidemic. Since then over 1,000 men and women have lived and thrived in this landmark building on Christopher Street with a majestic view of the Hudson River – a view that places it right on the edge of New York City’s Flood Zone A.
On October 29th, Superstorm Sandy hit the East Coast. That night, the Hudson River overflowed and broke through the doors of Bailey-Holt House. The building was badly flooded by the storm surge. Water completely filled the basement and spilled onto the first floor. Electricity, gas and hot water were cut off.
The 44 individuals living in Bailey-Holt had to be evacuated. Some of the most medically fragile residents were taken to Mount Sinai Medical Center, to ensure that critical medical services like daily dialysis were not interrupted. Others were situated with friends and family, or were re-located to emergency shelters and other temporary housing. Since the storm, Bailey House staff has worked continually to help residents maintain the housing and care they deserve and keep them connected to the Bailey House community, despite the temporary nature of their accommodations.
Speaker Christine C. Quinn’s office has been working with Bailey House to repair the residence since Sandy. “Bailey-Holt House provides invaluable, all-in-one services to New Yorkers living with HIV/AIDS,” said Speaker Quinn. “I’m thankful to the staff and volunteers who worked around-the-clock to re-open the facility after being devastated by Sandy and am grateful for the work that Bailey-Holt House does to help New Yorkers lead productive, independent lives.”
It has been a long process, with many replacements of equipment and infrastructure necessary as well as mold and debris removal and other extensive repairs of the basement and the first floor offices and lobby. Now, with the hook up of electricity and hot water, Bailey-Holt House has finally been able to re-open for its 44 residents. However, the battle is not over yet. The repair costs have been an unexpected financial burden for this ground-breaking AIDS agency, which is still waiting for assistance from FEMA and the Small Business Association. Regina Quattrochi, CEO of Bailey House, commented, “We are grateful to Speaker Quinn and her staff for advocating for us every day since the storm so that our residents could come home again. Our next challenge now is to find the money to pay for $1.5 million in repairs. Like others whose buildings were affected, we need relief soon”.