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Betsy Lieberman and Chris Hurley

Founder and Director

Betsy Lieberman and Chris Hurley deserve much of the credit for the success of Bailey-Boushay House, both past and present. Lieberman is founder of AIDS Housing of Washington and Hurley was Bailey-Boushay's first Executive Director. The two worked closely together during its birth years, and it was not an easy birth.

  Chris Hurley, Bailey-Boushay House's first Executive Director
  Chris Hurley, BBH's first Executive Director
"It was a chaotic beginning. There was a lot of emotion around this building," remembers Hurley. "It was contested by the public," referring to NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard), a community effort to stop Bailey-Boushay from being built. "If I had understood the complexity of this undertaking, I would've been scared s----tless," laughs Lieberman. "But I brought some very smart people on board. My greatest strength is as a convener."

Lieberman's role involved raising money, working with the state on licensing and permits, and dealing with community conflicts. Hurley's greatest challenge was to convert the dreams for the facility into programs of care, and build ongoing operations-to which both she and Virginia Mason brought "tremendous vision," according to Lieberman. "It was about creating a 24-hour care residence for people with AIDS, and sustaining the program into perpetuity. And Chris did an amazing job." She is also "immensely proud" of Virginia Mason, which put a tremendous amount of resources into Bailey-Boushay when other hospitals were not interested. "It was not popular to do. But they saw a well-planned project and regarded it as an important aspect in their relationship with their community."

"In the beginning, the environment here was invigorating and emotionally overheated," says Hurley. "It was intense. There were a lot of deaths-about one every 18 hours. The staff was very emotionally involved. They could see themselves in these patients. It was their generation." For Hurley, it was "an interpersonal safari. An opportunity to experience life at its poorest and its richest."

So what was the take-away for Hurley-the woman who devoted over a decade of her life to bring the vision of Bailey-Boushay into fruition?

"What I learned was a priceless lesson in the unfathomable capacity of human beings to accomplish incredible things."

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