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Home for AIDS patients ready to open

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Gregory House, a new residential apartment complex for people infected with the AIDS virus, will open more than a week ahead of schedule tomorrow to accommodate a patient who has been stuck in a hospital for 10 weeks because he has had no other place to live.

"I just couldn’t keep him waiting. The place is ready except for a few minor things," said Michael Burnett, executive director of the non-profit organization Ho’omana’olana, which turned the eight-unit, 14-bed Makiki residence into Hawaii’s first home for people with AIDS.

The Queen’s Medical Center patient is like an estimated 25 to 30 others in Hawaii who need housing now because their illness has left them poor, without a job and without a home. At Gregory House, which is not a nursing facility, the daily cost to Ho’omana’olana for a resident will be about $65, compared with $1,200 a day in a hospital, said Burnett.

Gregory House, named after local artist Charles Gregory who died of AIDS in 1985, is a community effort in the great tradition of Hawaii’s aloha spirit, said Burnett.

The $1 million to purchase the building and its land came from a Big Island charitable trust founded by Parker Ranch heir Richard Smart, who was a friend and art patron of Gregory’s. Documents list Smart’s Parker Ranch Broiler as the owner. Smart is leasing the building to Ho’omana’olana for a nominal fee.

Foundation trustee Rick Hendrick, speaking yesterday on behalf of Smart, said Smart requested the money be donated "because he felt that it’s a worthy cause and wanted to do all that he could. He has seen what other cities were doing and didn’t want Honolulu to lag behind."

"Back in the Day," appearing every Sunday, takes a look at articles that ran on this date in history in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. The items appear verbatim, so don’t blame us today for yesteryear’s bad grammar.


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