The California non-profit Bienestar,
which serves the LGBT Hispanic community, was evicted from its
offices two days after opening its doors.
Bienestar offers HIV testing and
counseling, mental health support, substance abuse treatment and
education, and a variety of support groups to the lesbian, gay,
bisexual and transgender Latino community.
Two days after opening its Van Nuys
center doors, the group claims it was forced out by its landlord.
Bienestar stated in a press release that the landlord initially
offered no reason for terminating its three-year lease. According to
the group, the landlord later claimed that Bienestar was making
inappropriate use of the space and “bringing disease” to the
“We feel that we have been treated
unfairly,” Oscar De La O, president and CEO of Bienestar, said
in a statement. “The landlord's actions are a shocking example
of the kind of LGBT and HIV/AIDS discrimination that Bienestar has
committed itself to fight against and overcome. … This situation is
very unexpected and distressing, especially when we have performed
these same services half a block down the street from this Van Nuys
location for 12 years. We have never faced this kind of situation
before at any of our nine Southern California centers.”
The group will offer limited services
in Van Nuys from its mobile unit.