Blog Post: Bailey House Helping Thousands Find a Place to Call Home

DIFFA: Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS

Bailey House was formed in 1983 to create the nation’s first response to homeless individuals living with AIDS. Starting off with one residence in the Greenwich Village in New York City, the organization now serves more than 1,800 men, women and children living with HIV/AIDS and other chronic illnesses in neighborhoods throughout New York City.  By offering housing and additional services, clients are also able to address critical factors they may face such as poverty, hunger, substance abuse and mental illness.

 “DIFFA’s support of Bailey-Holt House (BHH) has provided critical funding to one of our oldest supportive housing programs. For 30 years, BHH has been able to serve some of our most medically fragile clients, and without partners like DIFFA, we wouldn’t be able to provide the housing and wraparound care that clients require. We are thankful for DIFFA’s ongoing generosity, and I know our clients are too,” said Senior Vice President of Housing and Development, Jeannette Ruffins.

 Read the excerpt below to see how Bailey House saves lives:

Victoria came to Bailey House after a life-threatening health scare left her in the hospital and unable to care for herself. She lived at Bailey-Holt House for 11 years, and shared that in those years she learned more about herself than at any other point in her life. Victoria was a victim of prolonged child abuse, which left her hopeless and isolated. For nearly 40 years she used drugs as an escape from the pain and trauma in her life. In 2000, she purposefully contracted HIV/AIDS in the hopes that the illness would kill her quickly. As a result of her drug use and lack of healthcare, Victoria developed a serious heart condition. During this time she also lived precariously on the streets.

Victoria’s health conditions and drug use came to a head when she experienced a heart attack that left her in the hospital. She was not allowed to return home out of a fear that she would return to her drug use, and was released on the condition that she agreed to go to Bailey House. For the first year Victoria struggled to adjust to living at Bailey-Holt House, finding it challenging to respond to the care she was receiving. Over the course of her second year, Victoria started to accept the fact that people genuinely cared for her, which taught her to care for herself.

Bailey House helped Victoria learn accountability and self-care. During her time there, she developed independent living sills, learned how to engage with her trauma, and how to handle her mental health and drug use issues. Victoria shared “I kind of like me now. I’m alright now. When you get to be around my age growing is not an easy thing to do, but as long as I try, Bailey House tries with me. I’m grateful for that.”

Victoria’s ability to grow and evolve is a testament to both her commitment to improving her health and the impact of Bailey House’s wraparound services. Their multi-layered service provision coupled with the stability provided by Bailey-Holt House allowed Victoria to redefine who she was. This year, she moved out of Bailey-Holt House and into independent housing.

Help DIFFA continue to support more organizations like Bailey House through our grant-making initiatives. To learn more about their mission and work visit