Hope House Loses Second Interim Director in Ongoing ‘Turmoil’Hope House of the Palm Beaches, Palm Beach County's largest provider of housing for people with HIV/AIDS, lost its second interim director last week after the resignation of Bruce Halstead, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports. Halstead had replaced interim Director Bruce McDonald this summer; McDonald had assumed the position after Director David Walker resigned in February. The departures of Halstead and McDonald mark another problem for Hope House, which has been undergoing "turmoil" since the agency was sued last year. The Quantum Foundation claimed that Hope House had "misused" half of a $500,000 grant that was earmarked for construction of cottages for children. In addition, United Way of Palm Beach County recently pulled the remaining $28,433 of its $85,300 grant to Hope House. Although United Way's grant represented a "miniscule percentage" of Hope House's $2.3 million budget, the Sun-Sentinel reports that the loss of United Way's support "hurt" the agency. In March, the Palm Beach County School District "seize[d]" eight of Hope House's West Palm Beach apartments for a new elementary school.
What Does Future Hold?
The resignation of Halstead has prompted concern in the Palm Beach community regarding Hope House's future. Scott Badesch, executive director of the United Way of Palm Beach County, said that his staff has started working on a backup plan to see "which agencies may have space available" to serve the "hundreds" of Hope House clients. However, Angela Rose, deputy executive director of Hope House, said that the agency does not plan to close, adding, "We're not without leadership." In addition to housing, Hope House provides outreach, case management, teen pregnancy prevention and other programs to community residents affected by HIV/AIDS (Gruskin, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 10/26).