New York: HIV Housing Demands Escalate
October 1, 2007
About 250 HIV/AIDS housing advocates rallied on Sept. 25 in front of New York City Hall to press City Council and the mayor to support HASA for All. Sponsored by Council member Annabel Palma (D-18), the measure would allow asymptomatic people with HIV to access the city's HIV/AIDS Services Administration (HASA) for housing assistance.
Advocates say HASA for All would add 10,000 clients to the agency, which currently has over 30,000 clients, at a cost of $68 million each year; but council staff members estimate the cost at between $75 million and $100 million annually.
Three weeks before the rally, two academic experts briefed City Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D-3) on the health benefits of stable housing for people with HIV, including a possible reduction in forward transmission.
"The idea of giving housing to people so that they will have stability to prevent transmission of the virus is one the key ideas in housing people," said Robert Banks, CEO of Gay Men's Health Crisis, which supports the measure.
"I do not believe the HASA for All initiative is the best way to support HIV-positive homeless individuals or prevent the spread of this disease," said Quinn. "Further, I am concerned this bill could set a wide-ranging precedent that would require additional costly benefits."
"This proposal would impede our ability to tailor services in the most appropriate way to those who need it most," the Health Department stated. The city has other programs "specifically designed to address the needs of people with HIV or AIDS who require intensive support," it said. "We oppose this proposal because it could result in the diversion of resources from services that help people successfully manage the disease to other, less-effective measures."
Gay City News (New York)
9.27.2007; Paul Schindler
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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.