Thursday, Dec. 1 is World AIDS Day, and in its final Member Happy Hour of 2016, Near Southside Inc. (formerly Fort Worth South Inc.) will spotlight an organization that is winning its battle with the deadly disease.
Samaritan House, in partnership with Kent & Co. Wines will host the event from 5:30-7 p.m. at Kent & Co. The Space, 1309 S. Adams Street in Fort Worth.
Samaritan House serves individuals who have disabilities and chronic diseases such as those living with HIV/AIDS, mental illness, and physical disabilities. They provide comprehensive and holistic residential services to the medically vulnerable.
In addition, Samaritan House Director of Marketing Jennifer Searles said her organization leads the nation in communities stopping the spread of HIV.
“Seventy six percent of residents living with HIV/AIDS achieved viral suppression, which means the likelihood of spreading the virus is low,” Searles said. “This is compared to a state rate of 53 percent and a Tarrant County rate of 60 percent. Samaritan House is making the community healthier.”
Samaritan House also helps individuals and families find new pathways to sustainable living, and for 26 years has been an anchor on Hemphill Street for Near Southside. They were the first to build a playground in the area, and have grown to have more than 307 apartments with around 200 children in Near Southside.
“Through our partnerships, we provide services to 374 homes and 1,000 individuals. We have one, two, and three-bedroom apartments and several homes,” Searles said. “We serve the whole family.”
Searles added that Samaritan House is the largest provider of permanent supportive housing in Tarrant County.
“Our agency was founded to serve those with HIV/AIDS and we continue to honor that legacy,” Searles continued, adding that AIDS continues to be a pandemic.
“We are proud of our outcomes.”
So are others, such as the Near Southside community itself, said Megan Henderson of Near Southside.
“Near Southside, Inc. is proud highlight the important work Samaritan House accomplishes here and across Fort Worth,” Henderson said. “It’s our privilege to shine the spotlight on such a vital organization by inviting our Near Southside, Inc. members to observe World AIDS Day and meet the Samaritan House team.
“Kent & Co. Wines, who has graciously offered to host the event in support of their neighbors, serves as a testament to the community spirit the Near Southside is best known for.”
All residents of Samaritan house pay 30 percent of their income toward rent. They are at 100 percent occupancy with a waiting list.
As for the hosts, Kent & Co. The Space is a special event venue in the heart of the Near Southside. They host everything from business meetings to weddings, wine tastings and more, such as this event.
They feature seating for up to 160 people, three rooms, audio visual connections and TVs for education or promotional slideshows, and a catering kitchen.
Near Southside, Inc. (NSI) is a non-profit member-supported organization working to revitalize a 1,400 acre mixed-use district known as Fort Worth’s Near Southside. Each month the organization hosts one breakfast and one happy hour event as a networking opportunity for its membership. The events are hosted at a different member business within the district boundary to provide member hosts an opportunity to showcase their organization and staff.
The NSI mission statement notes that the organization is run by a small staff of four that relies heavily on stakeholders and volunteers to realize the vision of the community. It also details that NSI began as a small coalition of businesses and community leaders and has grown dramatically over the last two decades.
“Woven with care, the fabric of our community is on display whether rain or shine,” the statement reads. “Neighborhood concepts are re-imagined as the beneficial alliance between the medical district, small business owners and residents. Each strengthen the unique selling points of the others.”
All of which Searles said makes for the perfect location for Samaritan House.
“Being a part of the Near Southside community is an honor,” Searles said. “We believe inclusion and diversity strengthen our communities. We look forward to continuing to provide clean, safe, and healthy communities for everyone.”
Thursday’s event is free to all NSI members and guests. If you would like to learn more about NSI membership, or would like to attend as a guest, contact Henderson at firstname.lastname@example.org.