Moe Tells Hesed's Story
My best friend died of AIDS in April 1991. I didn't know much about the disease, but I saw how it completely destroyed my once vibrant, compassionate, loving, generous, kind, hilarious friend. As far as treatment goes, back in 1991 the choices were very limited and very few people survived. My friend had the choice of AZT or nothing. He chose the AZT but it just didn't work for him. Because his immune system was wrecked he contracted every weird disease there was. When he died, it was in his own home surrounded by his loved ones. I was holding his hand when he took his last breath.
I began volunteering at Living Waters Canada and Kali Shiva AIDS service and I saw that very few people were as blessed as my friend. The people that I met were languishing in hospitals, living in deplorable rooming houses, feeling lonely, worthless and without hope. I felt helpless and didn't know what to do. But I did know that no one should live or die alone, feeling unloved.
In 1997, I attended a Christian Conference called The Fragrance of Justice. God clearly spoke to me about starting a home for men and women living with HIV/AIDS. Tye Gamey and Rod Jersak (New Direction) and myself started researching what this "home" would actually look like. We talked to the nurses and doctors involved in caring for men and women living with HIV, but most importantly we talked with the men and women who we would actually be serving. The men and women living with this disease were the ones who helped us with the practical aspects, location, lay out, house rules, criteria, etc.
We did not seek out government dollars to start up and operate the house. Because this was God's idea we trusted that he would provide everything we needed. God has and does provide for us through people. A very generous Christian couple bought us a house and paid for the renovations. We went through the hoops and maze of city regulations, zoning, licensing etc. Finally in December of 1998 we opened the doors at our Langside Street home and welcomed our first resident.
Every one of these precious people came to us when there was nowhere else to go. Since 1998 we have lost 22 of our friends to this disease. We hope that their time at House of Hesed made a difference to them; that they knew they were loved, valuable, cherished people.
House of Hesed has moved into a beautiful new home, provided by money through the 3 levels of government by the Homelessness Initiative. Other than a small room-and-board fee per resident, we still do not receive money from the government to operate the house. House of Hesed has been blessed with project monies received from local foundations, which has enabled us to put in a wheel chair ramp, an intercom and hopefully soon, a stair-lift.
People have been amazing in their support of this service. The love and encouragement we receive on a daily basis is what keeps us going. We continue to rely on the generosity of churches and individuals to pay for our 24-hour staffing and provide excellent quality care to the men and women God has called us to serve.
God bless you,
House of Hesed Director
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