Today is World Aids Day. I know there are many great organizations and people out there using this day to bring awareness to this terrible epidemic. On this day not only do I think about all of the people we have lost due to Aids but I also reflect on those living with this virus and are homeless. There is no greater pain than to be on the streets and be suffering from Aids. Some are lucky and are able to be have their permanent housing via Shelter Plus Care or end up at a Aids hospice care where loving and compassionate people care for them. No person should be left to die alone and on the streets. Being homeless with Aids is something that no person in this world should experience. I stop and reflect on the millions of people who are living this reality. It pains me to just even realize that as I am writing this, someone is sleeping in the cold without any medication to help him with this deadly disease.
There is a special hospice care that reaches out to those who may be facing similar experiences from the example I mentioned above and that is Maitri Compassionate Care in San Francisco. Maitri is a Sanskrit word that means, “compassionate friendship.” It was started in 1987 when a Zen teacher, Issan Dorsey, from Hartford Street Zen Center took a homeless student dying of Aids. Since 1987, the hospice has provided a loving atmosphere where people with Aids can enjoy there remaining days with love and compassion. Maitri’s mission statement is just beautiful. Maitri Compassionate Care believes:
No one should have to suffer or die alone. Maitri provides compassionate residential care to men and women in need of hospice or 24-hour care and cultivates the deepest respect and love for life among its residents and caregivers. At Maitri, we strive to provide the type of care that each of us would like to receive at the end of our lives – care that is dignified, non-judgmental, unconditional. We hold dear the principle that each resident has the right to determine the degree of choice and awareness with which to experience life and death.
Residents live in a 15 bed facility equipped with nursing, personal, emotional and spiritual care. By housing no more than 15 people it allows for the residents to have the intimacy and the attention they need.
To learn more about Maitri please visit www.maitrisf.org