After nearly three decades of providing temporary housing to Buffalo’s HIV and AIDS-infected homeless population, Main Street’s Benedict House will be closing.
The facility was set to close two years ago, before it was purchased by Evergreen Health Services. Vice President of Community Development, Justin Azzarella says the home’s twenty residents were informed yesterday, but that it came as no surprise.
“The residents have really since that time understood that the long-term future of Benedict House wasn’t particularly bright. So I think for a lot of folks – what I’ve kind of heard ancillary – is that they knew this day was coming, now they have a date to work with.”
Azzarella says the home’s grant funders found its dorm-style accommodations to no longer be financially sustainable. He says residents will be placed in “scattered site housing” where they will continue to receive care and community-oriented services. Evergreen expects to be able to place the residents in new homes by June, but will keep Benedict house open if that timeframe cannot be met.
Azzarella says that for the past two years Evergreen has taken a consistent financial loss on Benedict House. He says in the last year alone, the company invested 700-thousand dollars.
“After seeing the very large loss of funds and anticipating that we’re going to lose potentially double that in the next year, it just no longer becomes a financially responsible way for Evergreen to spend its limited resources.”
The building’s future use or sale, following the departure of residents, is still undetermined.