Monday, July 20, 2009

Contact: Sean Barry, 646.373.3344 /


Bill Would Create An Affordable Housing Protection For 11,000 Low-Income People With AIDS At Risk Of Eviction;
Advocates Look to Assembly and Governor Paterson to Approve It

New York – A coalition of low-income people living with HIV/AIDS and housing providers praised the New York Senate for passing a bill designing to prevent homelessness among low-income people living with AIDS. The bill, introduced by Senator Tom Duane and sponsored by thirteen of his colleagues, would ensure low-income people with AIDS receiving public housing assistance pay no more than 30% of their disability income towards their rent. It passed with bipartisan support and despite the absence of four Democratic Senators.

“New York City’s rental assistance program for low-income people with AIDS leaves me with $11 per day, with the rest of my check going to rent each month. That means I have to choose between basic necessities like going to the doctor, buying groceries, keeping my phone turned on or paying rent. This bill would not only give me a fighting chance at a decent quality of life, it would help me survive,” commented Gustavo Pedroza, a campaign leader with the NYC AIDS Housing Network (NYCAHN).

An independent analysis by Shubert-Botein Policy Associates concluded that the bill could save New York money by preventing costly arrears, evictions and emergency housing placements. A growing body of research also documents that stable housing is essential to effective HIV/AIDS healthcare and prevention, including increasing adherence to medication, reducing hospitalizations and ER visits, and reducing HIV risk behaviors.

The bill remained bottled up in the Assembly Ways & Means committee before the end of their regular session, although the Assembly is expected to come back in the fall to pass reconciliation bills and budget modifications. Assembly Member Deborah Glick introduced companion legislation with forty cosponsors, including Ways & Means Committee Chair Denny Farrell. Advocates called on Speaker Silver and Governor Paterson to prioritize enacting the bill into law during any future legislation sessions in 2009.

“The Assembly went home without passing urgently needed legislation that would help me keep my home. We need Speaker Silver to take responsibility and prioritize this vital legislation when they come back to Albany,” said NYCAHN leader James Dean.

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