AIDS Issues Update Blog

Dispatches from the fight against homelessness and AIDS


Posted by Tim Murphy , October 22, 2013


Paycheck! The HIV/AIDS Employment Initiative helps Housing Works job-train clients at $8.70 an hour in wages.

Monday, Housing Works was proud to learn that, once again, it was among seven NYS community service organizations awarded a total of $1.1 million by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, via the HIV/AIDS Employment Initiative, to help low-income individuals living with HIV/AIDS move into, or back into, the workforce.

The Initiative also provides the necessary case management services to ensure that the health and supportive services needs of participants are not compromised once they are working.

In this funding cycle, Housing Works will receive $164,485. The money will go toward an hourly wage of $8.70 that HW pays to participants in its acclaimed Job Training Program (JTP), which trains HW clients for workplace readiness over 9 to 12 months, then guaranteeing them a full-time job plus insurance and comprehensive benefits within the HW agency. Program graduates often go on to earn college and advanced degrees, and to employment beyond Housing Works in everything from social work to food services to graphic design. Click here for detailed information about the JTP.

Explains Jennifer Lester, Housing Works program manager: “The wages paid for by the money from the Employment Initiative allow our clients to build up a nest egg before they go off public benefits, and to learn ‘soft’ employment skills like communications, time management and teamwork.” Lester said that 20 people were currently enrolled in the program. “We’ve had people go on to careers in office administration, property management, marketing, graphic design—you name it.” Some of the Cuomo money also pays for a job coach who teaches JTP participants those key skills.

Said Governor Cuomo of the funding: “Through this initiative, the State is providing critical support to help New Yorkers dealing with HIV or AIDS live full and active lives. State funded community organizations will be helping these New Yorkers both find jobs and keep them so they can be independent and support themselves.”

The HIV/AIDS Employment Initiative, beginning its 15th year of operation, was one of the first programs created solely to respond to the employment needs of low-income individuals living with HIV/AIDS. It is a joint project of NYSOffice of Temporary Disability Assistance and the NYS Department of Health AIDS Institute.

Providers help each participant access available job openings that provide work settings that do not negatively affect their health and ensure they retain access to health insurance. Services help program participants positively address the challenges of being in the workforce so they are able to handle these matters and stay employed.

The following organizations were awarded funding:

AIDS Community Resources, Inc.

AIDS Service Center of Lower Manhattan, Inc.
New York


Elmcor Youth & Adult Activities, Inc.

Federation Employment and Guidance Service, Inc. (FEGS)
New York

Gay Men’s Health Crisis, Inc. (GMHC)
New York

Housing Works, Inc.

“This funding provides much-needed employment and training services to some of the State’s most vulnerable residents,” said Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance Commissioner Kristin M. Proud. “While advancements in treating the HIV/AIDS virus have enabled individuals to stabilize their health and resume or begin working, the employment and training services funded by these grants will help to address other challenges that still exist, such as coordinating work, medical appointments, transportation needs, child care and housing.”

State Health Commissioner Nirav R. Shah, M.D., M.P.H. said, “Employment and housing are critical components in our fight against HIV. This funding will allow people living with the disease to enter or re-enter the workforce while receiving the continued health and supportive services they need.”

“Support from New York State’s AIDS Employment Initiative has enabled Housing Works to train, employ, and support hundreds of formerly homeless New Yorkers living with HIV/AIDS,” said Andrew S. Greene, Senior Vice President for Development and Marketing at Housing Works in Brooklyn. “With renewed investment from the AIDS Employment Initiative, Housing Works will continue to provide job training and placement services for persons living with HIV/AIDS and help those individuals enter or re-enter the workforce.”

“CAMBA is excited to be part of New York State’s HIV/AIDS Employment Initiative,” said Joanne M. Oplustil, President and CEO of CAMBA. “In the 25 years since CAMBA began working with people with HIV/AIDS, medicine has made great advances – our clients are now living longer, healthier lives. This program will enable our clients to take the next critical step, enabling them to return to the workforce and become independent and self-sufficient citizens.”

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