Who would have guessed in 1983 that the humble AIDS Resource Center, a collection of a few apartments in New York City’s Chelsea and Greenwich Village neighborhoods set up to house homeless people living with AIDS, would 35 years later grow to become the nonprofit institution Bailey House, now serving 1,800 men, women and children living with HIV and other chronic illnesses?
Although the name has changed, the mission remains very much the same, and Bailey House’s reach now extends beyond those initial two neighborhoods so critically affected during the early days of the AIDS epidemic to Harlem, the South Bronx, the Lower East Side and the other areas that now lay claim to the highest incidence of HIV infection and poverty in New York.
Today, through supportive housing and services that include substance abuse and mental health counseling, drop-in services, food pantries and job placement and under the leadership of CEO Daniel Tietz, Bailey House continues to battle the twin crises of HIV and unstable housing one client at a time. Most of the work the organization does wouldn’t be possible without the generous support and advocacy of donors and allies such as those honored at Bailey House’s 30th Annual Gala & Auction on March 8 at New York’s Pier 60 at Chelsea Piers. Since 1988, the annual event has raised nearly $20 million.
Honorees at the star-studded event included longtime Bailey House supporters and advocates writer Stephen Henderson and PR guru James LaForce and actress and The View host Whoopi Goldberg, who hosted the very first Bailey House event (in 1984) and has remained a champion for the group throughout the years. Presenters included Sex and the City (and New York state gubernatorial candidate!) Cynthia Nixon and New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, who as the councilman for District 3 represents the area that serves as the home of Bailey-Holt House, the first congregate supportive housing facility in the country for people with AIDS.
And in keeping with tradition, Bailey House, which was among the first AIDS service organizations to partner with the design community, auctioneer Kathleen Guzman (of Heritage Auctions and Antiques Roadshow fame) helped auction off fine furniture and art by top designers and home decor companies, including Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, Bungalow 5, the American Society of Interior Designers and official media sponsor NYC&G (New York Cottages & Gardens); photographs by Duane Michals and Robert Mapplethorpe; and more.
Check out some of the highlights in our slideshow!