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Action Alert

Call Assembly Speaker Silver: Stop the HASA Rent Crisis -- New Yorkers With HIV/AIDS Need Affordable Housing!

No More Than 30% Towards Our Rent for HASA Clients

August 19, 2009

Call Speaker Silver's NYC office at (212) 312-1420 with this message:

"Hi, my name is _________ and I'm calling to ask Speaker Silver to schedule a vote during the special session for Assembly bill number 2565, introduced by Deborah Glick. This bill would help prevent 11,000 low-income New Yorkers living with HIV/AIDS from losing their homes by giving them an affordable housing protection." [Additional points below]


Albany Update

The Senate bill (#2664), championed by Senator Tom Duane, passed with overwhelming support on July 17th (only one Senator voted no). The Assembly will have the opportunity to pass the bill in September when they meet for a special session to update the budget. But Assembly Speaker Silver won't schedule a vote for the bill unless he sees and hears enough community support. The Assembly bill was introduced by Assembly Member Deborah Glick and is co-sponsored by over 40 of her colleagues. If you haven't already, please watch Senator Duane's extraordinary speech about the legislation at www.nysenate.gov/news/towleroad-ny-state-senator-tom-duane-gives-gripping-angry-speech-aids.


Key Points -- What The 30% Rent Cap Bill Would Do

  • Save New York money. Approximately $12 million could be saved annually by reinvesting money currently spent on expensive emergency housing into stable, affordable housing instead.
  • Promote affordable housing. Nearly 11,000 low-income people living with HIV/AIDS face the threat eviction because of an unsustainable rent share burden forcing them to pay 50-80% of their monthly disability income towards rent. This bill would create an affordable housing protection by capping their rent contribution at 30% of income.
  • Reduce homelessness and lead to longer-term housing stability. Analysis of HASA data on the length of stay in different housing programs shows that an affordable housing protection improves housing stability by at least 40% (Shubert Botein Policy Associates).
  • Fight HIV/AIDS by promoting better health and HIV prevention outcomes. Housing stability makes it easier for a person with HIV/AIDS to take their medication, make medical appointments and maintain healthy relationships. For example, a landmark study sponsored by HUD/CDC that examined the benefits of housing stability among people with HIV/AIDS found a 35% reduction in emergency room visits and a 44% reduction in opportunistic infections.
  • Fix the double standard in New York's low-income housing and shelter assistance programs. HASA's rental assistance program is the only one of its kind that does not cap the tenant rent share at 30% of income. For example, Section 8, public housing and supportive housing all cap the tenant rent share at 30% of income.
  • Stop forcing impossible trade-offs between basic needs. Currently, low-income people with HIV/AIDS in HASA's rental assistance program are only allowed to keep $330/month or $11/day from their disability income after rent. This forces them to make tough choices between buying groceries, visiting the doctor or keeping their phone turned on -- or even paying the rent, which is why there are such high arrears and evictions among HASA clients.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, contact NYCAHN Community Organizer Jaron Benjamin at (718) 864-3932 or jaron@nycahn.org.



  
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This article was provided by New York City AIDS Housing Network.
 
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Reader Comments:

Comment by: raymond Hilerio (New York City) Wed., Sep. 16, 2009 at 12:45 am EDT
It's hard to explain to someone who is not going thru with this. My meals consist of soup and sandwiches. Heavens forbid that I decide to eat something that costs more than $3.00 dollars. It would ruin my budget for a month. Only God and I know what I am going thru.
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Comment by: Kellie (Lawrenceville,GA) Thu., Sep. 3, 2009 at 11:00 pm EDT
Please remember that the stress of housing, living etc. Cause this virus (hiv) to get do more damage then good, for us that live with it. I need to know that if and when I need a program like this it would still be there for me and my family.
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Comment by: Mike Morris (St. Petersburg, Fl) Tue., Sep. 1, 2009 at 2:14 pm EDT
Dear Tom, Thank you so much for all that you are doing to help those aflicted with this horrible disease. I already have the type of housing that you speak of here and it does make a difference in my life. Keep fighting and never give up.
Mike
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Comment by: Pamela Neely (Brooklyn, NY) Thu., Aug. 27, 2009 at 8:47 pm EDT
People who live with HIV/AIDS depend on housing through HASA and they are having a hard time now, please a cut would only make matter worst. They are living with the virus, they don't need to live in the street.
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