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Governor Cuomo Announces State Support for Expanded Housing & Services for People with HIV

Governor Cuomo Announces State Support for Expanded Housing & Services for People with HIV

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 24, 2016

Contacts: Mikola De Roo, 347-585-6051, m.deroo@housingworks.org Elizabeth Koke, 347-473-7459, e.koke@housingworks.org

Governor Cuomo Announces State Support for Expanded Housing & Services for People with HIV

Albany, NY–On the eve of New York City Pride, a weekend of events celebrating lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and gender-non-conforming New Yorkers, Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced the expansion of HIV/AIDS housing and services to all income-eligible people with HIV in New York City. With this announcement, the State joins New York City in a significant step towards ending our HIV epidemic—a victory for NYC residents with HIV, Housing Works and other HIV/AIDS Advocacy organizations that is the culmination of many years of a “HASA for ALL” campaign.

Homelessness and housing instability remain obstacles to effective HIV treatment for an estimated 10,000 HIV-positive New Yorkers across the State. For an individual with HIV, lack of stable housing and access to transportation and food pose formidable barriers to engagement in effective HIV care and can mean the difference between life and death. NYC’s HIV/AIDS Services Administration (HASA) provides lifesaving social services including rental subsidies and transportation and nutritional assistance, but to date these essential benefits have been limited to persons with AIDS or other advanced HIV disease by outdated eligibility criteria.

On World AIDS Day, December 1st, 2015, Mayor Bill de Blasio made his administration the first to commit to expand HASA services to the estimated 7,300 HIV-positive New York City residents who are currently homeless or unstably housed but excluded from HASA’s lifesaving assistance. The Mayor earmarked funding in this year’s budget for the City’s share of “HASA for All” costs. The Governor’s historic announcement that his administration will expand eligibility will provide the State’s share of the funding to make the expanded benefits a reality for City residents.

“We have long known that lack of safe, stable housing is a formidable barrier to care for many New Yorkers with HIV. Expanding access to the State’s HIV rental assistance program was a key recommendation of the Governor’s Blueprint for Ending the Epidemic by 2020—so that every HIV+ person can benefit from the early treatment that sustains health and prevents ongoing HIV transmission,” said Housing Works President & CEO Charles King. “I applaud Governor Cuomo’s announcement of a change to State regulations to extend eligibility for the rental assistance to all homeless New Yorkers with HIV infection. We look forward to working with the State and our local partners to make sure that all New Yorkers receive the assistance that they need. We thank the Governor for this bold and significant step forward.”

While thousands of HIV-positive New York City residents will now have access to benefits and services through HASA, much work remains. An estimated 4,000 low-income New Yorkers with HIV in the rest of the State are currently homeless or unstably housed but are unable to access similar benefits because their communities lack the necessary local funding. We will continue to work with the Governor’s office to ensure access to lifesaving HIV benefits and services across the State. It is also essential for the Governor, Assembly, and Senate to complete the outstanding memorandum of understanding that will release $2 billion in resources for housing development, to ensure access to supportive housing for those people with HIV and other chronic conditions who need it.

New York’s LGBT communities can and should be proud of our City and State’s ongoing progress toward ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic that has devastated our communities. New York was once the epicenter of the AIDS crisis, and we are now poised to be the first jurisdiction in the world to end our epidemic.

Posted on June 24, 2016 at 12:22 pm

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