Help HIPS Build Dreams: Support the Center for Health & Achievement
A New Horizon
After more than 20 years of successful outreach and intervention, HIPS is now poised to expand and improve our services beyond our tried-and-true mobile outreach through the establishment of the HIPS Center for Health and Achievement. Located in Ward 6 (H St NE), the Center will include an in-house health clinic, offer medical, mental health and drug treatment services in addition to HIPS easy to access traditional services. Condom distribution, syringe exchange, case management, crisis counseling, shower and laundry facilities and a clothing closet will continue to be staple services. HIPS will also continue our extensive ‘peer’ program, empowering clients to volunteer alongside staff to offer services and support.
Thanks to the support and compassion of our donors, staff and volunteers, HIPS, has improved the lives of thousands of individuals in “street economies": the women, men and transgender people in the sex trade, drug users, and people who face chronic homelessness, unemployment, incarceration and abuse. Since 1993, HIPS has met people-in-need where they are to build up their self-worth, encourage them to set goals and realize their potential for success. The majority of HIPS’ contacts to-date are made through our mobile outreach program, reaching an average of 100 sex workers each night and making over 8,000 contacts every year. Three nights a week, between 11 pm and 8 am, HIPS staff and volunteers provide education, counseling, distribution of condoms and safer sex materials, and syringe exchange.
More Services Under One Roof
HIPS Center for Health and Achievement will co-locate with other esteemed nonprofits focused on serving the poor and vulnerable citizens of our community. The new Center is based on a co-location model, utilizing community partners to offer more services at the center. The new co-location model also helps solve some of HIPS most pressing issues, most significantly the stigma our clients face when not being welcome at other agencies. Being judged or treated poorly by doctors, social workers, and counselors because you are transgender, your engagement in sex work or because you use drugs creates a mistrust of the system and makes it less likely people will seek the services they need to change their lives.
In 2014 HIPS has:
- Informed 677 sex workers and drug users of their Hepatitis C status and treatment options
- Informed 1,061 sex workers and drug users of their HIV status. 13% tested positive.
- Handed out 500,000+ condoms and safer sex supplies to the District’s residents.
- Enrolled 980 individuals in drug treatment or medical services.
- Held over 400 support groups to encouraged life change and healthy behaviors.
- Distributed and collected 250,000+ sterile needles from injection drug users.
- Made 7,000 contacts with clients for counseling and education during mobile overnight outreach
- Answered 4,900 hotline calls
Despite the success, our work is still challenging
The individuals we work with face multiple obstacles in their path towards success. Nearly all of our clients face abuse and violence as part of their daily lives. Most report incomes of less than $10,000 a year. Many are homeless or only transitionally housed. Many actively avoid accessing medical treatment, even when they need it, because they have been treated poorly in the past by those who misunderstood their issues. Few have significant employment experience. In two HIPS surveys last year, 90% said they had contemplated suicide, and over 50% of clients who engaged in sex work had experienced an act of violence.
“HIPS works to build positive relationships with sex workers through active listening, consistent outreach and unconditional support., We know HIPS harm reduction services help clients improve their lives, and the new Center will allow us to offer more options for success by providing an inviting, professional, local environment for people to seek clinical and social services” says Cyndee Clay, HIPS Executive Director.
The HIPS Center for Health and Achievement overcomes these obstacles
By offering essential services at a HIPS sponsored environment, HIPS will reduce barriers to quality, promote culturally competent medical care, and support HIPS clients in their journey to get healthy and become self-sustaining.
“Many clients were highly distrustful of accessing services other than HIPS due to previous bad experiences” says Clay, “One time a medical case manager from a large local clinic dropped off a client at HIPS because the client would miss appointments or show up high. She wasn’t yet ready to work his kind of program. After a day at HIPS we realized she was homeless and had difficulty getting to medical appointments after working the streets. She would often do drugs with clients who paid for her room, which is why she was showing up high. These situations often run counter to many agencies’ policies of abstinence as the goal. But at HIPS, we are experts in dealing with active users and helping them address health and safety needs”.
Building the Dream
On March 6, 2015, HIPS took possession of our new leased space on H Street NE. But that’s when the hard work begins to make the dream of the Center a reality. The space boasts 4,000 square feet, plus a basement for storage, an accessible location and a well-formed plan to transform the bare-bones space into a productive, welcoming and inspiring environment for staff and clients to achieve their goals.
The new center will offer harm reduction services like our drop-in center, showers, clothing closet, syringe access, counseling – with medical services, mental health counseling, job training, and drug treatment. The new center will vastly increase the options we are able to offer to our clients and reduce obstacles they face in their journey towards self-sufficient, healthy, and self-determined lives.
We’ve already received support in building the vision and collaboration for the new center with support from the DC Department of Health, the Washington AIDS Partnership, MAC AIDS Fund and AIDS United. What HIPS needs is to raise the remaining $150,000 to support the actual construction of the drop-in, showers, medical room, counseling rooms, kitchen, and staff spaces. I’m asking if you can help us get there.
You can help us bring this amazing center to fruition.
Your gift will be complemented in so many ways by a ‘low-bono’ architectural design services firm, pro-bono legal support, donated furniture and access to discounted and free building supplies. You will not only help ensure a first-of-our-kind co-located center for services in DC, but also lift HIPS’ national profile as we increasingly become a model for similar programs to study and emulate in other regions.
The total cost of renovations for the new Center for Health and Achievement will be $230,000.
We are asking our supporters to help us raise 1/3 of that, or $60,000 for phase one by the end of April 2015.
These funds will be leveraged with governmental, corporate and foundation grants to reach our goal.
Time is of the essence.
HIPS lease on the new space commences in March. So does our rent. With your help today, HIPS could be operating programs out of the new space in May and avoid paying rent at both locations.
HIPS needs your support now. Please make a donation today to help make the center a reality.