Rent increase for New York City HIV/AIDS welfare housing

September 13, 2015

According to the Times, the nearly 2,200 HIV-positive people living in the housing pay 30% of their income, which comes from federal assistance, for rent.

The new formula is not based on a percentage -- instead people in the housing must pay all but $330 of their monthly income, which for many is more than half of what they receive in federal assistance, the Times reports.

The formula change is the result of a March 2004 audit in which the state's Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance found that the city's HIV/AIDS Services Administration, which is part of the New York City Human Resources Administration, was paying too much in rent and not requiring HIV-positive people in the housing program to contribute enough.

The state withheld more than $150 million in reimbursements from the city until it agreed to change the formula, according to the Times. "

At a time when federal AIDS money is decreasing, this policy change is like a double whammy," Terri Smith-Caronia -- a policy official at Housing Works, which helps HIV-positive people find housing, health care and other services -- said.

Patrick McGovern, executive director of the Harlem United Community AIDS Center, said the increase "assumes that ill and disabled people should be spending more than 50% of their income on housing," adding, "They will have to concentrate more on their daily survival needs than on getting and staying well."

People in the program whose rents will be affected will receive a 10-day notice before the changes go into effect, the Times reports (Chan, New York Times, 10/5).

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