News & Press

Housing Works Demands Assembly Support for NYS Ending the Epidemic Initiatives

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Friday, March 17, 2017

CONTACT: Mikola De Roo, 347-585-6051, m.deroo@housingworks.org; Elizabeth Koke, 646-372-9639, E.koke@housingworks.org

New York, NY—Housing Works is dismayed that the recently released Assembly one-house budget did not include any additional funding aimed at supporting New York State’s visionary Ending the Epidemic (EtE) initiative. To date, the Assembly has not allocated any additional funds to the State’s EtE initiative. It is unconscionable that the self-proclaimed “people’s house,” which in the past has been a standout champion in the State’s AIDS response, has not taken a stand over the past four years to provide any new funding for New York State’s trailblazing initiative to end its HIV/AIDS epidemic by 2020.

We call on the Assembly to step up and support three essential new EtE initiatives during this year’s budget negotiations:

  • a $20 million investment of State settlement money or tax levy dollars to make the existing HIV rental assistance program available to the estimated 3,700 households with HIV currently homeless or unstably housed in Upstate New York and on Long Island;
  • added funding to enable the AIDS Institute to investigate AIDS mortality (death with AIDS as the principal cause) and new HIV infections via injection drug use as avoidable “sentinel events”;
  • and additional funding to fight New York State’s growing Hepatitis C epidemic.

Given the billions of dollars of housing-related funding in this year’s budget, we are especially alarmed that the Assembly one-house did not include a $20 million demonstration project to expand access to the existing HIV rental assistance program, including the 30% affordable housing protection, in the balance of the State outside of New York City. Unless we fund a demonstration project this year, approximately 3,700 New Yorkers with HIV will remain homeless or unstably housed for no other reason than living outside NYC. Housing is healthcare, and research confirms again and again that stable housing is the single most important factor in determining whether someone with HIV can achieve and maintain viral load suppression. Funding the demonstration project would save lives and generate an estimated $76 million annually in offsetting savings in Medicaid spending alone by averting new HIV infections and reducing avoidable emergency and inpatient health services.

We strongly urge the Assembly to address our concerns by supporting the three critical EtE components outlined above during the upcoming budget negotiations.

Such a commitment by the Assembly represents another crucial step forward in making sure our collective, bold goal of ending the AIDS epidemic in New York by 2020 becomes a reality. We have faith that the Assembly can and will do whatever is necessary to support and meet the needs of its most vulnerable community members, and we stand ready to partner in this goal.

Posted on March 17, 2017 at 1:00 pm

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