Project Lazarus - Living in the Positive
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History of the Organization

Project Lazarus was established in 1985 By Fr. Paul Desrosiers and Fr. Bob Pawell in response to the devastation that was being wreaked by HIV/AIDS. The Archdiocese of New Orleans responded by offering the upstairs of an old convent for the purpose of housing homeless people with AIDS, thus creating the first "Residence House." At that time, the agency primarily provided hospice care to persons with AIDS who were homeless. The downstairs area of the facility housed the Deaf Center and Food for Friends. Later this area was renovated to create another "House." Initially the program was staffed entirely by volunteers. Lazarus quickly became known as a place where people could come to live when they had no home, or when friends and family could no longer care for them. The need was great enough that the Archdiocese again responded by allowing the program the use of a second facility. A full time Director was hired, and since that time the program and staff have continued to grow and meet the increasing needs of the community.

Over 1,200 people have been served by the agency in its history with hundreds who breathed their last breath at the agency. In the early years and through the 1990's, Project Lazarus was a place where people with AIDS came to die. As the treatments for the disease have evolved, so has the agency as it is now a place where people with HIV/AIDS come to live.

Project Lazarus Today

To address the ongoing epidemic, Project Lazarus provides transitional housing and, when needed, hospice care. In addition to being the oldest, Project Lazarus is also the largest residential facility providing assisted living to people with HIV/AIDS in the Gulf Coast region. It is also the only such housing facility that provides medical care to its residents through the services of a nurse and certified Personal Care Attendants. During the course of a year, approximately 70 persons will be served by the agency and a waiting list is usually maintained due to 100% occupancy.

 


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