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Published: Thursday, 3/20/2003

David's House to close its residential AIDS unit

David's House of Compassion will close its residential unit for people with AIDS at the end of June.

David Arnold, a board member who will become president of the nonprofit group in July, said last night that improved drug treatment often makes it possible for patients to live on their own without the need for such a facility.

Keeping the housing unit when patients have residential options through the Lucas Metropolitan Housing Authority and Neighborhood Properties, Inc., an agency that finds housing for the mentally ill, has become a duplication of services, he said.

The housing unit at 501 North Detroit Ave., the same address as the agency's offices for caseworkers and other staff, has offered living space for up to five patients at a time for 14 years. The five patients now living there will be offered other housing.

“There is so much history in this house,” Mr. Arnold said. “But it is the right thing to do right now. It makes the most sense.”

The facility was once a place where patients went as a last resort at the end stages of the disease when treatment drugs were less effective, he said.

Case managers who work for David's House now help AIDS patients find adequate housing and maintain independent living while getting treatment, he said.

“In the last few years, we have had a fairly rapid turnover [of patients] because of the availability of good housing stock,” he said.

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