Dear Mr. Kent:
I write in response to last week’s letter to the editor regarding the Out of the Closet thrift store and HIV testing center being built on Sunrise Blvd. I don’t want to quibble with the author of the letter as everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but I do want to provide your readers with the correct facts so that they may draw their own conclusions:
Fact: The Sunrise location is at one of the most well traveled intersections in Broward County. Many people who never travel to Wilton Manors will become aware of Out of the Closet and the mission it and AHF serve because of this highly visible location.
Fact: An entirely different donor pool will donate to Out of the Closet because of this visibility. Many people in Broward County do not frequent Wilton Manors and are not aware of our location there.
Fact: The more visible we are able to make our locations the more we are able to help destigmatize HIV/AIDS and the more we are able to cause people to talk about this disease and become educated about it.
Fact: South Florida is the epicenter of new HIV infections. People of all walks of life need to be tested and know their status. This location will enable us to test and educate a variety of demographics that do not frequent Wilton Manors in a confidential and anonymous setting.
Fact: Not a single dollar donated to AHF or Florida AIDS Walk was used to purchase this location or to build this building. Additionally, the location was in foreclosure and was acquired significantly below market.
Fact: AHF is the largest provider of care to people living with HIV/AIDS in the State of Florida and AHF provides care to people regardless of ability to pay. .96 cents of every dollar AHF earns goes directly to patient care. Our audited financial statements, which are publicly available, prove this. We are able to provide this care, in part, because of the success of our chain of Out of the Closet thrift stores.
Thank you for this opportunity to set the record straight Sincerely,