Just two days after opening, BIENESTAR, a nonprofit organization providing services for LGBT and HIV-positive Latino/a communities in Southern California, was evicted from its new offices.
The organization began providing services in its new Van Nuys space on August 13. On the 14th, the landlord demanded the organization take its belongings and leave the premises, and he had the locks changed. On the 15th, the landlord told BIENESTAR he was terminating their lease because they were “bringing disease” to the building.
“We feel that we have been treated unfairly,” Oscar De La O, president and CEO of the organization, said in a press release. “The landlord’s actions are a shocking example of the kind of LGBT and HIV/AIDS discrimination that Bienestar has committed itself to fight against and overcome… This situation is very unexpected and distressing, especially when we have performed these same services half a block down the street from this Van Nuys location for 12 years. We have never faced this kind of situation before at any of our nine Southern California centers.”
Bienestar will offer limited services in Van Nuys from its mobile unit, currently located outside the organization’s former office at 14515 Hamlin St. Services, including case management, rapid HIV testing and referrals, will be available every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Can’t even put into words how furious this makes me. Holy cow. I don’t know if anything is being planned to retaliate against this landlord’s despicable actions, but feel free to keep an eye on the organization’s website for ways you can help.