Angered by Paterson Veto, New Yorkers Protest Outside Governor's Office
September 20, 2010
At least 75 AIDS activists jammed the sidewalk outside Gov. Paterson's Manhattan office this morning, incensed by the governor's veto of a housing bill that would have helped thousands of poor New Yorkers with HIV/AIDS.
As police officers corralled protestors away from the door, dozens of people staged a spontaneous "die-in," lying in front of the glass-paneled building and shouting "Paterson lie, people die!"
"When I heard about the veto I sat on the bed and tears started rolling down my face," said James Dean, 58. The Brooklyn resident spent more than a decade paying 65 percent of his income to rent, forcing him to live on just $330 a month. The bill would have changed that, capping his rent at 30 percent of his income.
Paterson had agreed to sign the 30 percent rent cap bill in both 2009 and 2010, but went back on his promises yesterday, claiming that it would prove too expensive during a difficult budget year. Since, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, as well as council members Annabel Palma and Helen Diane Foster, have sharply criticized the governor's action.
The bill would have helped nearly 10,000 low-income New Yorkers with HIV/AIDS, according to July numbers released by the HIV/AIDS Services Administration, by capping their rent at 30 percent of their income. Today, a state policy forces many poor state residents with HIV/AIDS to pay as much as 75 percent of their income toward rent, causing them to make difficult choices between medical care and paying their landlords. Research by an independent consulting firm has said the cost of the bill would be immediately offset by increased housing stability.
This article was provided by Housing Works. It is a part of the publication Housing Works AIDS Issues Update. Visit Housing Works' website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.
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