A leaked document from an internal government Human Resources Administration commissioner has caused HIV/AIDs positive New Yorkers and their allies to be up in arms. The document lays out a series of changes to the HASA program, which provides subsidized housing to New Yorkers with HIV/ AIDS. The memo states that HASA will be merged with the welfare-to-work program CAS. This would potentially require those living with HIV/AIDS to be employed in order to receive benefits. The change also will deny housing assistance to those who choose to not participate in drug-treatment programs. Overall, AIDS housing and nutrition programs will be cut by $10 million!
Not only will one of the most vulnerable populations in NYC be denied safe, affordable housing and medical treatment, but these decisions are being made without the input of the communities who will be affected or their advocates .
As tenant organizers, we see the right to safe and affordable housing as a human right, and forcing folks with HIV/AIDS to work in order to have a bed is criminal. The Village Voice, in their article today, quotes a man living with HIV/AIDS:
“Some people want to go back to work. I don’t think I’m physically able to do it,” Bobby Tolbert, a 59-year-old HASA client, told Runnin’ Scared this morning, expressing his concerns about the impact this move might have on employment standards HIV-positive residents.
UHAB will stand in solidarity with those pushing back against this unjust new policy.