A transitional home in Lancaster County, run by Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Harrisburg, for people living with HIV/AIDS is now closed after 20 years.
Now, the organization and neighbors of the property are wondering what will replace it.
Since Hope House opened in 1993, in a leafy, quiet pocket of Manheim Township, it was a place where people with HIV/AIDS could get the medical care and structure they needed to manage the disease and their lives.
But when Hope House’s primary funding source decided to pull its support, Catholic Charities had little choice but to shut down the program.
“Where do you come up with $200,000? It’s sad, we tried to go to all different resources, looking for funding and we just came up empty,” said Dr. Mark Totaro, Catholic Charities executive director and CEO.
Though Hope House initially sparked protests when it moved 20 years ago, many of the eventually came around and were supportive of the house.
Their thoughts are now with the eight people who were in the program and the twelve laid-off staff members.
“I hope they do well and those would be concerns,” said neighbor Fran Kesler. “Many of the people, I think, the workers, were very nice, the people who worked there. The people who lived there were very nice people.”
There are no immediate plans for the property, but Catholic Charities would like to house another program there eventually.
“You want to know that whoever is coming in would be a good fit and that people would be okay with it,” Kesler said.
“We want to do something to help the community,” Totaro said. “We want to do it, but we want to do it right, and we want to make sure there’s funding for it.”
The eight Hope House residents have moved to assisted living facilities, apartments or in with relatives. Some of the workers were able to move to other jobs within Catholic Charities.