This Saturday, a center is opening to provide vital resources for vulnerable populations in east Charlotte.
Carolinas CARE Partnership, one of Charlotte’s first LGBTQ+ advocacy organizations, is launching a resource center to tackle various health and economic issues impacting the LGBTQ+ community and people living with HIV/AIDS.
Why it matters:
Around 85% of the clients served through Carolinas CARE are Black, according to Carolinas CARE executive director Shannon Farrar.
Black people also make up a higher proportion of new HIV diagnoses and overall people with HIV, compared to other races and ethnicities, according to the CDC.
In 2019, Black people made up 13% of the US population but 42%, or 15,305, of the 36,801 new HIV diagnoses in the United States.
The Carolinas CARE Life Center will feature a computer lab, food and hygiene pantry, and an Xpression Space, a closet stocked with shoes, clothing and wigs at no cost for people to take.
The center will also provide confidential testing for HIV, syphilis and hepatitis C in addition to medical case management after testing.
Therapy will also be provided at no cost at the center.
Carolinas CARE merged officially with Transcend Charlotte, a transgender advocacy group in Charlotte, in July 2022.
“This Life Center idea is really a product of that merger,” Farrar said.
Carolinas CARE hopes the center will address issues that contribute to poor health, such as a lack of housing and food insecurity, through a combination of preventative and care services.
Through Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS, a federal program, the center will also offer housing vouchers for people living with HIV/AIDS.
“Housing is the best way to keep people healthy,” Farrar said. “If people are housed, they are more likely to take their medication, they’re more likely to practice safe sex, they’re more likely to keep themselves healthy.”
The facility will be open starting May 6, 2023, and is located at 5855 Executive Center Drive.
Visitors can drop in on the first and third Saturday of every month between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m.