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Protecting Housing for Those with Hiv/ Aids

Rental/Assistance Program Added

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a new affordable housing protection for lowincome New Yorkers living with HIV/AIDS.

With the announcement, New Yorkers who are permanently disabled by HIV/AIDS and receive rental assistance will pay no more than 30 percent of their income toward their rent. Without this protection, Cuomo said, more than 10,000 New Yorkers living with HIV/AIDS are denied affordable housing and required to pay upwards of 70 percent of their disability income toward their rent.

“This action will ensure that thousands of New Yorkers living with HIV/AIDS will no longer be forced to choose between paying their rent or paying for food and other essential costs of living,” Cuomo said. “By implementing a 30 percent income cap for low-income renters with HIV/AIDS, we are protecting New Yorkers in need and making our communities stronger, healthier, and more compassionate for all.”

“I’m very proud to work with Governor Cuomo to provide some measure of security to people struggling with the debilitating effects of HIV-AIDS,” added de Blasio. “And we come to the table ready to shoulder two-thirds of this program’s costs because we are committed to lifting up the most vulnerable among us. This is the mark of a compassionate city.”

Currently, the primary housing program for low-income New Yorkers living with HIV/AIDS is tenant-based rental assistance. As with other state housing programs for people with disabilities, residents with income from disability benefits are expected to contribute a portion of those benefits toward their rent.

Unlike all other state disability housing programs and federally funded housing assistance, however, New York’s HIV/AIDS rental assistance program did not include a 30 percent cap on the tenant’s required rent contribution.

Right now, many people living with HIV/AIDS in emergency shelters and supportive housing could live independently but cannot afford to move out because they would pay substantially more in rent in the rental assistance program. By creating this affordable housing protection, the State can better target the limited number of supportive housing beds for those who need them most.

Studies show homelessness and housing instability are significant public health issues that increase the risks of HIV acquisition and transmission and adversely affect the health of people living with HIV. The conditions that lead to homelessness for some individuals, coupled with the numerous challenges of being homeless, result in a substantially higher risk of HIV acquisition.

People who are homeless or unstably housed have HIV/AIDS infection rates that are three to nine times higher than individuals with stable housing.

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