Dying Man’s Wish Is Dignity, at Home

Gay HIV/Activist Has Lung Cancer, Faces Foreclosure
Mar 15, 2017

An accomplished local HIV/AIDS activist with terminal lung cancer is in need of help to save his home from foreclosure before he dies. Openly gay and HIV-positive, Keith Carson of Barnegat has worked with the South Jersey AIDS Alliance to create “safespace,” the state’s first HIV/AIDS education and prevention program; established an HIV/AIDS ministry at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Brant Beach; and sat on a steering committee for the national conference of the National Catholic AIDS Network.

His career was in human services, as a specialist for Ocean County, and in education, as a history professor at Atlantic Cape Community College. He bought his house in 2013 and started receiving disability benefits in 2014. He was denied a state pension through the Public Employees Retirement System, and his medical bills quickly became so burdensome that he could not pay his mortgage. He also has thus far been denied mortgage modification.

Carson is scheduled for a pension hearing this month. In the meantime, a GoFundMe has been set up in his name to help raise $33,500. As of this week, the goal is two-thirds met.

According to the GoFundMe page, created by a longtime friend, as Carson approaches the two-year prognosis mark, he is “fiercely lucid, relatively pain-free, and still enjoying a reasonable quality of life. He merely wants to live out his life in dignity in the home he has made for himself.”

A bout with cellulitis landed Carson in Southern Ocean Medical Center for a few days earlier this month, and he is now recovering at home while the mortgage company, Homebridge Financial Services, continues the foreclosure process. He has one Philadelphia-based pro-bono attorney, Eileen Burns, working to stop the foreclosure and work out a mortgage modification, while another, Charlotte Hollander of the Law Project of Southern New Jersey, attempts to reach a settlement with the state deputy attorney general assigned to his appeal to the New Jersey Board of Pensions.

To donate to Carson, visit gofundme.com/save-keiths-house-during-his-chemo.  —V.F.

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