Carrie Rengers

Positive Directions seeking new space for new focus

Because of the scaled-back services, Positive Directions no longer needs its almost 2,000 square feet at 414 S. Commerce, where it’s been since 2008. (June 4, 2016)
Because of the scaled-back services, Positive Directions no longer needs its almost 2,000 square feet at 414 S. Commerce, where it’s been since 2008. (June 4, 2016) The Wichita Eagle

Positive Directions is moving in a new direction, and it needs new space to go with its new focus.

The HIV and AIDS service organization, which started in 1999, has been offering case management and prevention services but is dropping the case management side.

“We’re fighting a lot of rumors that Positive Directions is closing,” says board chair Marc Durfee.

“We’re not closing. We’re refocusing, and we’re going to continue … on our fight against the disease,” he says. “We’re just not going to be offering the case management side.”

He says there are larger organizations to do that work.

“They’re more effective at doing case management because of their size and their scale,” Durfee says.

“Other organizations can do it more efficiently than we do,” he says. “Because we were small, we’ve always had struggles.”

He says Positive Directions will continue to lobby for issues that support people living with HIV and AIDS.

“We’re going to focus on advocacy.”

He says it wasn’t an easy decision to stop offering case management.

“We went around and around,” Durfee says. “We tried to come up with a solution.”

The organization will continue to offer free HIV and AIDS testing and condom distribution.

Because of the scaled-back services, Durfee says the group no longer needs its almost 2,000 square feet at 414 S. Commerce, where it’s been since 2008.

“It’s just too big for … us right now,” he says. “We’re going to have a much smaller physical footprint.”

Durfee says he’s not sure where that will be yet.

The group’s lease is up at the end of June, but Durfee says most likely it can have an extension.

“Our landlord has been a long supporter of our organization.”

Durfee says Positive Directions needs a small foyer, a small office and another space for private consultations.

“We don’t need that much,” he says.

“As a board, we feel like we need to be … fairly visible.”

He says that could be by the Donut Whole near Douglas and Hydraulic.

“That’s a pretty visible area.”

Durfee says the group could move as far as maybe Hillside or, in the opposite direction, Delano.

“We think this move is ultimately going to be better for our clients.”

The fate of the Jones Gallery, an art gallery within Positive Directions, is unclear.

“It all depends on the space that we are able to find,” Durfee says.

If there’s room, he says, “Then we’ll of course keep it.”

Carrie Rengers: 316-268-6340, @CarrieRengers

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