Monday, January 13, 1992 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Aids Housing Is Dedicated - A First For Nation -- Bailey-Boushay House Was Inspired Through `A Passion For Caring'

Pain gave way to pride, helplessness to hope. As the nation's first residential-care facility designed for people with AIDS was dedicated in Seattle yesterday, a cool rush of relief fanned the crush of men and women - young, old, gay and straight - gathered for the ceremony.

"What we do here proves bigotry, scarce resources and a lack of community support are not endemic to AIDS," said Thatcher Bailey, one of two men after whom the new facility is named. "And it reminds us of how democracy should work and how boundless our power is if we only claim it."

The Bailey-Boushay House, in Seattle's Madison Valley, will house up to 35 people suffering from AIDS and treat dozens of others on an outpatient basis.

Thatcher Bailey, a Seattle publisher and vice president of AIDS Housing of Washington, is credited with raising more than $200,000 for the home, which is also named after his life partner, Frank Boushay, who died of AIDS in 1989.

"In naming the house for a gay couple, the board has embraced a reality that far too many feel is the great shame of this pandemic," Bailey said.

Hearty applause followed his words. Construction of the Bailey-Boushay House had, indeed, tested Seattle's political will and commitment to caring for its sick, as many at the dedication knew firsthand.

"AIDS inspires many passions, and this project did no less," said Christine Hurley, newly appointed Bailey-Boushay House adminstrator. "Foremost among them, this project inspired a passion for caring, a passion for justice and a passion for doing things in the right way."

The first and only skilled nursing facility designed to meet the specific health-care needs of people with AIDS, the Bailey-Boushay House was commended as a model for the nation by Dr. June Osborn, chairwoman of the National Commission on AIDS, who gave the keynote speech.

"You have built a marvelous prototype," Osborn said. "You have truly embraced the concept of living and compassionate care in this house, and I will talk it up wherever I go in America."

More than 6,000 individuals, corporations, foundations and government agencies contributed $6.3 million toward construction of the Bailey-Boushay House.

About 500 people attended the dedication of the modern, three-story, stone-and-glass building designed to fit in with the storefronts of the neighborhood. Among those at the ceremony were U.S. Sen. Brock Adams, Seattle Mayor Norm Rice and Seattle City Councilwoman Sherry Harris. But most of those who attended were private people concerned for the well-being of their neighbors.

"My husband is a volunteer with an AIDS organization, and I try to do all that I can to be helpful just because I care about people," said Mary Dougherty, 62, who lives up the street from the Bailey-Boushay House.

"I'm just one of those straight people who believes we need to care for one another. After all, we've only got each other."

The 35-bed facility will offer 24-hour residential care at a cost of $300 a day, roughly one-third the rate charged by hospitals.

The facility also will offer adult day care to another 35 people with AIDS, who live at home but need some help or supervision during the day. Rehabilitation therapies, transportation, social and recreational activities, meals and medication are some of the services that will be provided.

At the end of 1991, nearly 2,000 people in King County had been told they had the disease, according to Seattle-King County health officials. Roughly 10 percent of those patients will need skilled nursing services and long-term residential care.

The facility, which will accept its first residents and outpatients in April, will fill that gap between hospital care and rest homes, Hurley said.

Copyright (c) 1992 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.


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