Elected Officials Join People With HIV/AIDS In Opposing Governor’s Veto Of 30% Rent Cap Affordable Housing Bill

Monday, October 4th, 2010

CONTACT: Sean Barry -(646) 373-3344, barry@nycahn.org

New York, NY – A powerful coalition of elected officials criticized Governor Paterson’s decision
to veto a bill (A.2565/S.2664) that will lead to more New Yorkers living with HIV/AIDS becoming
homeless. The bill, introduced by Assembly Member Deborah Glick and Senator Tom Duane,
would establish an affordable housing protection for clients of the HIV/AIDS Services
Administration (HASA) so that they pay no more than 30% of their disability income towards their
rent. The 30% rent cap is already the standard in other low-income housing programs in New York.

Video of the press conference:

“It makes no sense that Governor Paterson and Mayor Bloomberg are paying to keep me in a Single
Room Occupancy (SRO) shelter when it would cost less than one-third that amount to pay the rent
in my old apartment. The only reason I’m homeless is because I couldn’t afford to pay over 70% of
my Social Security Disability towards rent, but this bill could have changed that,” said Milfred
Maxwell, a NYCAHN/VOCAL member and HASA client who is homeless. “More New Yorkers
living with HIV/AIDS will become homeless and end up emergency rooms and hospital beds as a
result of the Governor’s veto.”

Low-income people living with HIV/AIDS and their families enrolled in HASA’s rental assistance
program are required to pay upwards of 70% or more of their disability income towards rent,
resulting in high rates of housing loss. An independent fiscal analysis by Shubert Botein Policy
Associates found the bill would pay for itself by reducing shelter placements and arrears.

Advocates are urging the legislature to override the Governor’s veto, which can be achieved
through a two-thirds majority in the Senate and the Assembly.

Elected officials who spoke during the press conference provided the following statements
expressing concern about the Governor’s veto of the 30% rent cap affordable housing bill:

“Despite Governor Paterson’s veto, the crisis for thousands of people with HIV/AIDS remains. It is
an inequity that must be addressed,” said Assembly Member Deborah Glick.

“Thousands of people living with HIV/AIDS are paying up to 75% of their income towards rent;
that’s unconscionable,” said Richard N. Gottfried, chair of the NYS Assembly Committee on
Health. “For years we have fought to pass the 30% rent cap bill, to make sure that rents collected
from HASA clients do not exceed 30% of a person’s income. Sending people to emergency shelters

is more expensive than permanent housing, and we know that long-term housing is crucial to the
health of a person living with AIDS.”
-term housing is crucial to the
health of a person living with AIDS.”

“I am terribly disappointed that Governor Paterson chose to take such a short-sighted view of this
matter and veto a bill that would have provided long-term stability and relief to thousands of New
Yorkers living with AIDS,” said Senator Liz Krueger (D-Manhattan). “By vetoing this bill the
Governor is opening up New York to other costs, including increased homelessness, while also
adding pain to a group of people who are already suffering enough. I will be working with my
Senate colleagues to override this ill-considered veto.”

“We were deeply disappointed to hear that Gov. Paterson decided not to stand up for New York’s
most vulnerable citizens,” said Speaker Christine C. Quinn. “The legislation before the Governor
today could have provided affordable housing protection to more than 11,000 New Yorkers living
with HIV/AIDS – many of whom may eventually face eviction due to their high rent burdens. This
bill would have provided critical relief to people living with HIV/AIDS, many of them to live on
about $11 a day. Now the State Legislature has the opportunity to provide assistance to those living
with HIV/AIDS. I strongly urge my State colleagues to override the Governor’s veto.”

“Governor Paterson’s veto of the 30% rent cap bill casts a shadow over his long record fighting for
social justice,” said Annabel Palma, Chair of the City Council General Welfare Committee.
“The City Council, Public Advocate and Comptroller all stood behind this bill because we knew it
would keep vulnerable New Yorkers in their homes and out of the shelter system. Stable and
affordable housing is literally a life or death matter for people living with HIV/AIDS, which is why
I urge my colleagues in the legislature to override the Governor’s veto.”

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The NYC AIDS Housing Network (NYCAHN) & Voices Of Community Advocates and Leaders
(VOCAL) is a statewide membership organization dedicated to addressing the root causes of the
epidemic through community organizing and advocacy.