New leadership is taking the helm at Jerusalem House, Atlanta’s oldest and largest provider of housing for low-income families and people experiencing homelessness who are also affected by HIV/AIDS.

Maryum Gibson has been named president and CEO of the Atlanta nonprofit; she will assume her new role August 2. The organization’s current president and CEO, Charlie Frew, who has led the organization for the past 14 years, will retire this fall, after assisting in a transition period, according to a press statement from Jerusalem House.

“Charlie’s visionary and compassionate leadership has benefited our residents, staff and the cause of providing housing and supportive services for people living with HIV/AIDS. We are grateful for his years of service; he will be missed,” Mike McCoy, chair of the Jerusalem House board of directors, said in the press release. “Maryum brings extensive nonprofit executive leadership experience to Jerusalem House, and we look forward to capitalizing on her perspectives and expertise as we continue the important work of the organization.” 

Gibson arrives at Jerusalem House after an eight-year stint as president and CEO of Scottdale Early Learning Inc., which provides learning services for low-income families in central Georgia. Gibson also brings experience from her time at Quality Care for Children, St. Jude’s Recovery Center and Genesis—A New Life, a shelter for homeless newborn babies and their families.

In addition to offering housing, Jerusalem house provides supportive services such as case management, education and programs tailored to help clients dealing with, for example, substance abuse, domestic violence and mental health challenges.

“Jerusalem House believes Housing is Healthcare for homeless and low-income individuals and families affected by HIV/AIDS and leads the Atlanta community in meeting the needs of this population,” writes Frew on the nonprofit’s website.

“In 1988,” he continues, “Jerusalem House was established by a coalition of community leaders who conceptualized a residential facility for homeless people with AIDS that would foster independence and dignity. The agency is so named because ‘Jerusalem’ means ‘dwelling of peace.’ Through four residential programs: Program for Adults (1989), The Family Program (1997), the Scattered Site I and II programs (2003 & 2009), and the New Horizons program (2015), Jerusalem House provides over 70% of the permanent supportive housing in Atlanta designated for our target population.”

Jerusalem House launched in 1988. In December 2019, the group was serving over 600 clients. According to its website, it currently serves over 130 children, providing stable homes as well as tutoring and school supplies.

People experiencing homelessness often face elevated risks for HIV. For recent examples, see articles about HIV outbreaks in Minneapolis, Boston and Duluth, Minnesota. In related news, read “Improving Outcomes for Homeless People With HIV and Hepatitis C” and the inspiring profile on artist D’Angelo Morrison “From Homeless With HIV to an ‘Artivist’ With Hope.”