Holly Haven, a family care home for people with HIV, closes

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Holly Haven, a home for individuals with HIV who need significant assistance with physical and mental health needs in Winston-Salem, has closed.

A family care home that served individuals with HIV who are experiencing significant physical and mental health challenges in Winston-Salem has closed.

Ashley Love, the interim executive director of AIDS Care Service, confirmed that the agency’s board of directors voted to close Holly Haven, a family-care home licensed with the state Department of Health and Human Services. The target date to close the facility was Nov. 30, but Love said the agency successfully transferred all six residents to skilled nursing facilities and assisted living facilities by Nov. 15.

“It’s been bittersweet for the board and staff,” Love said. “It was tough for everyone involved. It was tough for our staff and tough for our clients. Those staff that worked for Holly Haven, we were especially concerned to make sure we supported our clients and their families to help them transition and to help provide any care and resources that we could. We followed very strict steps to make sure our clients knew we were going to support them through this transition.”

State law requires family care homes to give 30 days notice before they’re transferred or discharged.

For 17 years, Holly Haven has provided a home for people living with HIV who require 24-hour care, including help managing medication, assistance with daily living activities and access to outside activities like support groups. When Holly Haven opened there was a need for end-of-life care for people with HIV, and the facility was envisioned as a hospice, Love said. Over the years, the disease has changed as medical advances have allowed people with HIV to live longer and healthier lives.

“Over the last 17 years it’s been discussed with our board members and our staff regarding the unique services that it’s a bit more difficult to fund Holly Haven,” Love said. “This is a good thing. Resources for clients with HIV and AIDS have expanded and there are more services and facilities that are willing to provide services to our clients.”

Love said each of the six former residents of Holly Haven has a different type of health insurance to cover the cost of care and housing. AIDS Care Services received federal funds through a program called Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS, or HOPWA, to pay staff at Holly Haven. Jacquelyn Clymore, the HIV/STD coordinator for the state Department of Health and Human Services — which administers the program — said AIDS Care Services made its final request for reimbursement for HOPWA funds to support Holly Haven in September and October.

Love said the board has voted to sell the property, which is located on Poplar Street in the Holly Avenue neighborhood.

While the agency opted to close Holly Haven, AIDS Care Service hasn’t completely gotten out of the housing business. The agency still provides emergency and temporary housing for up to five families at Horseshoe Apartments, and operates a housing assistance program to provide rent and utility assistance to people with HIV who need help. Notwithstanding the agency’s decision to liquidate Holly Haven, Love said AIDS Care Service is on sound financial footing.

“Nonprofits across the city are having conversations about how to change and how to provide better services, about how we’re providing adequate and quality services, how many clients we serve, and how… we can address their emergent needs,” she said. “When you have conversations like that, you have to make tough decisions. Sometimes they’re bittersweet, but they’re the best decisions to grow the agency and to provide more and better services to the clients.”

  • Sabastion

    This is so sad that this house is closing. Its good that its not needed as a hospic type place but sad because it holds a special place in alot of hearts. I volunteered there and worked there. It was a very special place and will truely be missed.

  • Nabila

    If only the true impact of this decision on those who were yanked from the only home they knew, in one case for over five years, were able to be exposed. Or the deception and dishonesty exhibited by members of the board and leadership. This agency is hurting those living with HIV more than they understand.