Yesterday, the New York State Senate vetoed legislation (S.4098) drafted to create an affordable housing protection for more than 10,000 low-income New Yorkers living with HIV and AIDS and their families – many of whom are Black and Latino – and are at risk of becoming homeless.
“We are gravely disappointed and frustrated in the Senators who voted against this important bill,” said Steven C. Bussey, Harlem United’s Chief Executive Officer. “It’s unfortunate that New York State would turn its back on these individuals, who are risk of becoming homeless because of the disproportionate amount of their household income that has to go to rent. Many of the tenants living with HIV with whom Harlem United works are left with literally just a few dollars a day for food, transportation and other necessities. ”
The “30% Rent Cap” bill would have amended the New York State Social Service Law to limit the percentage of income payable toward shelter costs by persons living with HIV and AIDS to no more than 30% of the household income, much like other enhanced rental assistance programs such as the federal program Section 8. Harlem United’s own analysis has revealed that clients whose rent share was capped at 30% paid rent more consistently compared to those who were subject to the $330 rule (from 41% to 84%).
With 586 housing units – housing nearly 1,000 men, women and children- Harlem United is one of the largest AIDS housing providers in New York City . Tenants can access many of the full range of services for which they are eligible at Harlem United, a full-service community-based AIDS service organization with health care, dental care, mental health, prevention programming, HIV testing and more.