About ACCESS Network

October 14, 2008 

Behind the lush pines and well-trimmed palmettos, behind the golf courses and palatial homes of Hilton Head Island, lie pockets of poverty that community advocate Gwen Bampfield calls “our Katrinas.”

There, off rock-strewn dirt roads, stand rotting trailers without plumbing and refrigeration that — as bad as they are — would be welcome havens for those who bounce, week to week, among relatives and friends.

“It’s not all money, yachts and million dollar homes” on Hilton Head, said Bampfield, president of the ACCESS network, an AIDS service organization with offices in Beaufort and Hampton counties.

A broad range of social services help the core clientele of ACCESS, those who have tested positive for HIV.

“Housing is one of the most pressing issues with HIV clients,” Bampfield said.

Once 55 percent white and 45 percent black, ACCESS’ clientele now is almost 75 percent black. Increasingly, the list also includes Latinos.

The agency has launched a homelessness initiative to help people in the Lowcountry — not just those with HIV/AIDS.

The organization also has joined the Beaufort Housing Authority and Sisters of Charity to help people develop job skills and works toward homeownership.

“We don’t want to just help people by paying a bill,” Bampfield said.

The State is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service