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The Voice of the Black Community


Durham AIDS organization celebrates 30 years
Published Wednesday, January 3, 2018
by Staff Reports

DURHAM – The Affordable Community Residence Association, formerly AIDS Community Residence Association, is a 501(c) (3) Durham nonprofit organization founded in 1987 to provide supportive housing. The organization has served hundreds of individuals and families living with HIV/AIDS and the disabled by providing diverse, supportive housing options and programs.

To celebrate, the ACRA will host its 30th anniversary with a Theatre Dinner Gala & Silent Auction on Jan. 27, 6 p.m., at the William & Ida Friday Center in Chapel Hill. This event will feature special guest performances by ONE VOICE from Hillside High School, under the direction of Wendell Tabb; gospel vocalist and educator Mary D. Williams; and smooth jazz provided by The Baron Tymas Trio. The Rev. Michelle Laws, assistant director of the Community Health Coalition, is the mistress of ceremony.

Tickets are $50 per person and sponsorships are available at www.acradurham.org. Proceeds will support renovations to Blevins Too Group Home and Fitts-Powell Apartments that include roofing, re-pavement of the parking lot, landscaping and water drainage, and enhanced programming and services for residents.

Board chair Todd Durham explains the name change.

"We decided to change our name from the AIDS Community Residence Association because so much has changed in the last 30 years since we were founded,” he said. “Over this time, health care has improved dramatically so that fewer and fewer individuals with HIV ever progress to AIDS. We also wanted to do our part to remove the stigma associated with a person's status. We think our new name emphasizes the importance of affordable housing to a broad group of individuals with disabilities while still serving individuals affected with HIV."

Honorary co-chairs of the gala are John and Patricia Bartlett, founding members of the ACRA. "The AIDS Community Residence Association has been a part of our hearts and souls for the past 30 years,” Durham said. “Please give generously to support ACRA to keep this institution alive."

Highlights over 30 years:

  • 1989: first group with 24-hour care for HIV/AIDS in North Carolina
  • 1993: first HUD subsidized in the United States with a preference for HIV/AIDS
  • 2000: first scattered housing in North Carolina owned by the sponsoring nonprofit
  • 2007: Blevins Too, newly constructed home replaced old Blevins
  • 2010: provided housing for 19 residents at Fitts-Powell
  • 2015: established a food pantry to assist residents at Fitts-Powell and Blevins Too
  • 2016: provided travel for five clients to attend Kanuga Retreat for long-term HIV/AIDS survivors

To send a donation by check, make it payable to ACRA and mail to P.O. Box 25265, Durham NC 27702; or donate/purchase tickets at www.acradurham.org. For more information, contact Brenda Ruffin at (919) 973-4369, bruffin@acradurham.org; or Durham at (919) 656-5145, todd.a.durham@gmail.com.



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