Volume 95, Issue 78

Wednesday, February 20, 2002
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Western vows to keep promise

USC presidential races gets a little nasty

Drink bucks leave kids hungry

"You're a poopy head" -- "No, you're a poopy head"

Gay community loses its HALO

Disabled students get government cash

News Briefs

Gay community loses its HALO

By Jessica Leeder
Gazette Staff

A local gay, lesbian and bisexual rights group that recently shut its doors will reconvene its board of directors next weekend to see if the organization can be revived.

Last month, the Homophile Association of London Ontario – a part of the London community for 27 years – announced it did not have enough money to continue to pay its staff. The organization closed its office – formerly located on the second floor of the London Towers – and posted a sign directing interested parties to contact HALO's board of directors for inquiries.

HALO board member Dan Reith said the board will go on a strategic planning retreat next weekend to assess the future of the organization and its place within the community.

"HALO has served this community for over two decades and has made great contributions for the advocacy of gay and lesbian society," said Ward 6 city councillor David Winniger. "We're hoping they will be able to re-organize and continue their valuable work in the future."

At the root of HALO's financial crisis is an inability to secure government grants coupled with lower than expected profits from last year's Pride Week, said Roma Harris, HALO board member and Western's vice-provost and registrar.

A statement from the board of directors on HALO's website notes that if the organization is to maintain its presence within the community, obtaining charitable status will be essential.

The website also states the organization will continue to "seek grant funding for community programming and support for volunteer activities."

Rob Lidstone, secretary of the Queer Western Organization and a volunteer with the AIDS Committee of London, said that, if reconvened, HALO could have an important role in the community supporting gays, lesbians and bisexuals.

"The organization appears unable at this point to fulfill that role because of a lack of funding, internal conflicts or both," he said. "This is a tremendous disappointment to the gay and lesbian community, but also to London."

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