“The past 22 years have been filled with the goodness of people who helped in so many ways,” the alliance’s board of directors president, Mal Underwood, said in a closing letter.
Underwood said a decline in funding played a part in the decision to end operations for the alliance.
“Funding, never plentiful for AIDS organizations in rural areas like ours, has continued to decline over the past few years,” Underwood said in the letter. “Although HIV prevention is important and necessary, state funding has been going to metro counties since the end of 2012, with none left for those of us fighting the battle in outlying areas. And, as much as we would love to have seen the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS go away, it has not and donations are many times hard to come by.”
The retirement of its executive director also factored into the decision Underwood wrote.
Underwood said the alliance is “working hard to make sure that programs previously handled by the alliance are taken over by others.” According to the letter, the housing program will be managed by Highland Rivers. Transportation will be handled through the Ryan White Clinic serving the area and those needing HIV testing will be referred to the local health department as well as to other AIDS service providers.
“We feel confident that people will be able to find the help they need,” Underwood said.
To honor the 22-plus years of services, the alliance is requesting the community to save the date of Aug. 2 for a reception/party. In the letter Underwood thanked the community for its support.
“As we continue to move toward agency closure, and shifting as many functions of the agency as possible elsewhere, please know what an honor it has been to work with so many remarkable and dedicated employees, volunteers and supporters,” Underwood said. “Together we have helped people in ways that have changed their lives and we have supported them on their individual journeys. We appreciate your involvement and hope you know that many people have been helped because of your kindness and generosity. Never forget that you were a part of this remarkable work.”
Those in need of services previously offered by the alliance may contact the following resources:
*Northwest Georgia Specialty Care 1-877-531-2273
*Highland Rivers Residential Support Services (706) 233-9023 ext. 2039
* Bartow County Health Department
*AIDS Resource Council (706) 290-9098