US: Bronx community centre set to open after LGBT scandal

Tatiana Herrera August 21, 2014
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Elected officials recently gathered to break ground on what will be the biggest community centre in the Bronx, after a scandal rocked the LGBT community.

The new Boom!Health centre, scheduled to open early next year, will fill a void left in the community by the closing of the Bronx Community Pride Centre last year.

The Pride Centre closed after it’s former head, Lisa Winters, was convicted for embezzling more than $300,000 (£198,557) from the organisation.

Winters, who headed the Pride Center from 2004 until she was fired in 2010, received a two to six-year sentence for grand larceny and forgery charges.

She admitted to spending centre funds on a dog walker, pet care and veterinary services, and nearly $26,000 (£19,513) for a trip to Africa.

Amongst the ceremony attendees were Senator Gustavo Rivera, Congressman Jose Cerrano, City Council member Maria del Carmen Arroyo and the first openly gay legislator in the Bronx, City Council member Ritchie Torres.

Torres told PinkNews: “It is deeply gratifying as a young gay man and newly elected official to see the opening of a community centre that will provide a home in the Bronx for the LGBT community, many who face eviction at home by their parents.”

From August 2013 to June 2014 Boom!Health has conducted 4,205 HIV tests, 1,086 support groups, 919 substance abuse counseling sessions, and has moved 50 participants into recovery from drug use.

They have also provided 76,738 hot meals and distributed 30,987 food pantry bags.

BOOM!Health has signed a 25-year lease (with an option to purchase) on the six-story building. It was originally built in 1933 and formerly known as Brook House Furniture.

BOOM!Health’s President & Chief Administrative Officer Jose M. Davila who has lived in the Bronx for over thirty-six years told PinkNews: “at the sunset of my career the opening of this centre is a dream come true.”

Robert Cordero, President and Chief Program Officer said: “this centre is about the new Bronx built on the best of the old.”

More: Americas, Bronx, Community, LGBT, US

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