Archive for the ‘News’ Category

ICYMI: Spectrum News featured HVCS in its World AIDS Day coverage

Friday, January 19th, 2018

Watch Spectrum News’ video interview with our J. Dewey here.

From the article:

“Ending the HIV epidemic across the state is a collaborative effort, and recent data statewide and in the Hudson Valley indicates that progess is being made.

“The work in order to be responsive as you saw in the data is a complement of our partnerships between city between state between elected officials and our community stakeholders,” said Johanne Morne, director of the New York State Department of Health AIDS Institute.

The department of health held a summit on Wednesday in Albany to connect those involved in combating the epidemic with new information and resources. Morne says that working with communities and identifying needs, as well as understanding social and structural challenges and barriers for different communities, is a major part of their work.

“It’s our responsibility, as I talked about, for us to look for those opportunities not only to provide access to care, but to be sure we create environments that are welcoming and responsive to the people who most need access to prevention and healthcare support,” said Morne.

In the Hudson Valley, providing that access to care falls to many organizations, including Hudson Valley Community Services. In the mid-Hudson region, the trends for new HIV infections are hopeful.

“The news for HIV infections in the Hudson Valley is that the rate of infection is finally going down,” said J. Dewey, public relations & resource enhancement director for Hudson Valley Community Services.”

Thanks to reporter Orie Givens for reaching out to us.



Tuesday, January 16th, 2018

Town Hall on OverdoseNew York State is in crisis. Opioid overdose now takes the lives of more New Yorkers than homicides, traffic accidents and suicides combined. New York State Assemblyman Frank Skartados invites Hudson Valley residents to become a part of the solution and to join together to discuss a compassionate community response to opioid overdose deaths in New York’s 104th District. On Saturday, January 20th from 2-5 p.m. New York State Assemblyman Frank K. Skartados will be holding a town hall and forum panel on opioid overdose at the Newburgh Armory Unity Center 321 S William St, Newburgh, NY 12550.

AM Skartados has partnered with Hudson Valley Community Services (HVCS) and other agencies, including Adelphi University, Cornerstone Family Health, Drug Policy Alliance,  Hudson Valley Community Services, Team Newburgh United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region, and VOCAL-NY, to join people impacted by opioid use with experts in the fields of science, public health, criminal justice, and drug policy. HVCS’ Frank Barone, a member of our Syringe Exchange Program staff, will take part in a panel discussion.

This event will begin a compassionate and scientifically-informed discussion about drug use, overdose and New Yorkers’ best prospects for saving lives and living well. Information about local services available to people who use drugs and people in recovery will also be provided. Overdose and addiction affect us in a variety of ways.

The following experts and residents will field questions during the forum:

Keynote: Carl Hart, PhD Columbia University and Drug Policy Alliance

  • Hart is a Scientist, Activist, and Educator who is working to drive a compassionate response to people who use drugs and ensure that science informs policy.

Kassandra Frederique, MSW Drug Policy Alliance

  • Frederique is the New York State Director of DPAleadinge their statewide mission to advance those policies and attitudes that best reduce the harms of both drug use and drug prohibition, and to promote the sovereignty of individuals over their minds and bodies.

Judith Branche, MD, CornerStone Family Health

  • Branch is the Medical Director of the Center for Recovery at Cornerstone Family Health Center.

Jeff Kaufmann, Law Enforcement Action Partnership (LEAP)

  • Kaufmann was a police officer with the New York Police Department. While earning a law degree and and working with the NYPD’s Legal Bureau became critical of New York State’s drug policies.

Frank Barone, Hudson Valley Community Services

  • Barone is a Syringe Exchange program prevention specialist and uses harm reduction techniques to engage people who use drugs and to minimize the harm use causes.

Lauren Mandel, RN Newburgh resident and nurse

  • Mandel is a Newburgh resident who has practiced nursing for decades. Her son Zane died after using an opioid in September.

Sgt. Julio Fernandez, Adelphi University School of Social Work

  • Fernandez works to analyze local data on opioid overdoses and hospitalizations to create a data-driven community response at Adelphi’s Hudson Valley Center.

Those interested may register online at:

or share and follow the Facebook Event:

Calendar Information:

What: Town Hall on Opioid Overdose

Where: Newburgh Armory Unity Center, Larkin Center, 321 S. William St., Newburgh NY 12550

When: Saturday, January 20, 2018, 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm

Who: Concerned residents of New York’s 104th District and those affected by and concerned about opioid overdoses

More information: Contact Jawanza Williams,

“Walk It Off” Program Coming This Spring For Our Poughkeepsie Health Home Clients

Friday, January 5th, 2018

walking in PoughkeepsieHudson Valley Community Services is pleased to announce a new add-on program for our Health Home clients living in Poughkeepsie. Thanks to a Community Change grant from America Walks, our new “Walk It Off” program will debut in the spring of 2018.

“Walk It Off” will enroll fifty Poughkeepsie residents who are living with obesity and at least one other chronic health condition and receiving care management services. The program will run for six months, with monthly sessions led by a program coordinator and mid-month follow-up meetings with each client’s care manager.

Sessions topics will include how to get started with a walking program, its health benefits, keeping motivated, where to walk, and safety. During each session, participants will identify a walking goal to achieve before the next session. They will receive a “walking map” of the city to help identify walking goals, which may include other support services in their community. If a client is struggling, their care manager will help them find ways to overcome barriers so they stay on track and achieve their walking goal. Clients will benefit from the program by losing weight, improving their cardiovascular health, and improving their self-confidence.

HVCS Joins HIV/AIDS Orgs in Condemning Efforts to Downplay Transgender, Diversity at CDC

Tuesday, December 19th, 2017

Hudson Valley Community Services joins other HIV/AIDS organizations in condemning efforts to ban or otherwise avoid seven key words and phrases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and in the process, erase the transgender community and diversity.

On Monday, December 18, 2017, five of the nation’s leading organizations focused on ending the HIV and STD epidemics in the United States – AIDS United, NASTAD, the National Coalition of STD Directors, NMAC and The AIDS Institute – expressed alarm over reports that the Trump Administration barred staff at the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) from using certain words in its FY2019 budget justification to Congress. Hudson Valley Community Services stands with them in opposition to this development.

It is now being reported that top officials merely suggested that the CDC avoid using the words as a technique to help secure Republican approval of the 2019 budget. Either way, we cannot do justice to all communities–especially those at the highest risk for HIV–by pandering to those squeamish of diversity.

The five organizations released a joint press release, stating: “While we continue to be in contact with the Administration, CDC, and other agencies regarding these reports, restrictions on these terms, in any manner, demonstrate this Administration’s troubling lack of commitment to science and we are seeking further clarification. Thanks to bipartisan support in Congress and the Executive Branch we have made incredible progress against HIV over the last decade. But budget proposals delineate policy priorities, and in rejecting science and evidence along with other commonly understood health language, this Administration calls into question its commitment to science and the health of all communities, including racial, ethnic, and sexual minorities.

“Discouraging use and reference to “evidence-based” or “science-based,” is concerning enough. However, any attempt to remove “transgender” and “diversity” from CDC vocabulary would represent an outright dereliction of the stated duties of the agency. Such efforts are unacceptable and cannot go unanswered. Transgender people and people of color live under constant threat of systemic and specific discrimination and violence. Erasing them from official CDC documents ensures ongoing discrimination and undermines the ability of CDC to effectively respond to their health needs.

“Evidence suggests the transgender community is particularly vulnerable to HIV and STDs. As citizens and residents of this nation, they should be treated with fairness and respect. As human beings, they are entitled to dignity and affirming care.”

HVCS joins AIDS United, NASTAD, NCSD, NMAC, and The AIDS Institute in their pledge to remain committed to ensuring that diversity is celebrated by our public health system and that its work is rooted in science, not politics. We stand with transgender staff, constituents, clients, and family, and will not relent in our demands that their health and the health of all marginalized and minority communities be prioritized by this Administration and the U.S. government.

Read their press release here.

More info:
AIDS United (AU), NASTAD, the National Coalition of STD Directors (NCSD), NMAC, and The AIDS Institute (TAI) are national non-partisan, non-profit organizations focused on ending HIV in the U.S. They have been working in partnership to identify and share resources to sustain successes and progress we have made in HIV and STD prevention, care and treatment in the United States.

LGBTQ+ Westchester Residents Sought for Focus Group

Monday, November 27th, 2017

Do you identify as an LGBTQ person of color between the ages of 25 to 55? Do you live and/or work in New Rochelle, Pelham, or Mount Vernon? If so, we want to hear about your experiences being LGBTQ in Westchester County!

WHAT: An hour-long focus group discussion about being LGBTQ in Westchester county
WHERE: Mt. Vernon (location provided upon RSVP)
WHEN: Wednesday, December 6 at 6pm
WHY: To help local LGBTQ organizations better meet your needs

$25 gift cards and food will be provided!

The LOFT, Center Lane and the Westchester Community Foundation are conducting an LGBTQ needs assessment to learn more what it’s like being LGBTQ in Westchester County, including a series of focus groups to hear directly from LGBTQ community members. Findings will be used to expand and improve services to better meet community needs. Join the discussion and share your thoughts on what’s working in Westchester, what needs to change, and how can we make this county more LGBTQ-inclusive.

To RSVP for the group or get more information, please contact Naomi Kabalkin at (845) 471-0708 x12 or at

St. James Antiochian Orthodox Church in Hyde Park Donates Thanksgiving Dinners

Tuesday, November 21st, 2017

Special thanks to St. James Antiochian Orthodox Church in Hyde Park for donating twelve full Thanksgiving dinners to some of our Health Home clients. It looks like they thought of everything! We are so grateful for your support, and for thinking of our clients at this special time of year.

#GivingTuesday is almost here!

Wednesday, November 15th, 2017

Giving TuesdayGiving Tuesday is a national day of fundraising set for the Tuesday after Thanksgiving (and after Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday). HVCS and many other charities will be using social media to ask supporters for donations to help us carry out our mission, and it ties into our overall end-of-year annual appeal.

This year, Giving Tuesday is on November 28th.

You can help by making a donation to support HVCS’ food and nutrition programs, substance abuse programs, or HIV prevention efforts.

You can also pitch in by creating and sharing Giving Tuesday content on social media.

1) Please print out this sign;
2) Hold it up, give a big smile, and snap a pic;
3) OR, use the “GT_HVCS_Teaser” image provided at right, if you don’t want to take a selfie.
4) Next, post it on your social media profile and use the hashtag #GiveHVCS (you can also include the tag #GivingTuesday). Hashtags work on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. It’s also great if you add in a sentence or two about your role at the agency.
5) Add in the link to our donation page:
6) Or, if you’re on Facebook: ask people to visit the Hudson Valley Community Services page and use the Donate button. ***Facebook will MATCH all donations made to us via our Donate button on Nov 28th, up to $1,000 total for the agency!

Friends and family members are welcome to get in on the action too! The more the merrier—and the stronger our campaign.

Sample posts:

Today is #GivingTuesday and I’m asking you to #GiveHVCS. We improve the quality of life for thousands of Hudson Valley residents living with chronic illnesses, and your donation enables us to help more people and provide more services. Use the Donate button on @Hudson Valley Community Services and Facebook will match your donation!

It’s #GivingTuesday & I want you to donate to @HudsonValleyCS. Help us serve more local people w/ chronic illness. #GiveHVCS

Today is #GivingTuesday and I’m asking you to #GiveHVCS. We improve the quality of life for thousands of Hudson Valley residents living with chronic illnesses, and your donation enables us to help more people and provide more services. Please donate today via the profile link at @HVCSNY.

Photos From The Most Important Meal

Monday, November 6th, 2017

Thanks to everyone who made our new fundraising event, The Most Important Meal, a success! Photos by Anthony Accomando and Ryan Judge.

NYS Announces New Program for Low- or No-Cost Naloxone Access

Monday, October 23rd, 2017

NCAP information

For individuals with prescription coverage through their health insurance plans, this program will cover the cost of co-payments for naloxone up to $40 so there are no or lower out-of-pocket expenses when accessing naloxone at participating pharmacies.  All Medicaid Managed Care Plans cover at least one formulation of naloxone, and the vast majority of private insurance plans also cover naloxone.

There are 2,000 pharmacies throughout the State who dispense naloxone with a physician standing order.  Individuals getting naloxone at these pharmacies do not need a prescription. There is no individual enrollment requirement to use N-CAP.  Maximizing pharmacy distribution increases access to naloxone.

For a directory of pharmacies with standing orders, please access the link below:

This directory is updated monthly.

Individuals who cannot access naloxone from pharmacies will continue to access naloxone through registered programs including individuals using naloxone in the line of duty and people who are uninsured.

Additional information regarding N-CAP can be found at:

Woodlands Community Temple Organizes Food Drive for HVCS

Monday, October 2nd, 2017

Woodlands Community Temple in Greenburgh, NY organized a food drive for HVCS’ emergency food closets on Sunday, October 1st. Thanks to everyone who donated and the volunteers who brought a delivery truck full of food to our Hawthorne office!