HIV/AIDS Cuts in Bloomberg's Budget Proposal

February 2nd, 2012

Contact: Jaron Benjamin, 718-864-3932, jaron@vocal-ny.org

Bloomberg’s Hypocritical Budget Proposal Slashes HIV/AIDS Housing, Nutrition & Prevention Programs

Mayor Bloomberg’s preliminary FY13 budget proposal fails to restore funding for housing, nutrition and prevention services for homeless and low-income people living with HIV/AIDS.  Because City Council made one-time restorations in the FY12 enacted budget (or the cuts were enacted through midyear budget modifications), they do not appear in the mayor’s preliminary FY13 budget.  Most of the cuts occur within the HIV/AIDS Services Administration (HASA), a division of HRA.

“Making sure people living with HIV/AIDS have adequate housing and nutrition programs shouldn’t be a budget game for Mayor Bloomberg,” said Wayne Starks, a VOCAL-NY board member living in HASA-contracted supportive housing.  “While Governor Cuomo is focused on finding healthcare savings by investing in supportive housing through the Medicaid Redesign Team process, Bloomberg is going in the opposite direction by cutting funds for these programs that keep people out of emergency rooms and nursing homes.”

City Council stepped up to provide one-year funding totaling nearly $5.1 million for supportive housing and $1 million for food and nutrition programs in the final FY12 budget, but the mayor’s preliminary budget would implement the cuts starting in July 2012.  The cuts would also trigger the loss of state funding, which provides a match for city funding for HASA. This is the fourth straight year Mayor Bloomberg has tried to cut HIV/AIDS housing and nutrition programs.

“After pledging to make fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic a priority during his administration and claiming credit for medical advances that have occurred on his watch, Mayor Bloomberg is ending his time in office by slashing programs that have been the foundation for our city’s success,” said Bobby Tolbert.  “Instead of yet again balancing the budget on the backs of the most vulnerable New Yorkers, Bloomberg should be asking Wall Street banks and big corporations to pay their fair share by closing loopholes and ending unearned subsidies.  Bloomberg fails to see the big picture.”

More than 45,000 New Yorkers living with HIV/AIDS and their children rely on HASA for housing, healthcare and nutrition programs.  The City Council General Welfare Committee is holding a hearing on recent policy changes at HASA on February 8th.

Here is a list of Programs to Eliminate the Gap (PEG) the mayor failed to restore funding for in his preliminary FY13 budget proposal:

  • HIV/AIDS Supportive Housing – $5.086 million PEG:  Approximately 4,500 HASA clients with a history of chronic homelessness, substance use and/or mental health issues reside in supportive housing programs. City Council approved a one-time restoration in the FY12 budget.
  • HRA Broker’s Fee Payments – $4.8 million PEG: A policy change by HASA exacerbates existing discrimination against HASA clients by private landlords by cutting broker’s fee payments. The PEG is for all HRA rental assistance programs, not just HASA’s.
  • HIV/AIDS Rental Assistance – $1.257 million PEG: More than 80% of HASA clients rely on tenant-based rental assistance for their housing.  Bloomberg’s FY12 budget cut funding for the rental assistance program without fully explaining how the savings will be achieved, although it is likely to come about through diversion of new clients.
  • HIV/AIDS Food & Nutrition (Project Momentum) – $995,000 PEG: Mayor Bloomberg is again trying to shut down the Project Momentum food and nutrition programs, which serves over 40,000 hot meals per year to people living with HIV/AIDS.  City Council made a one-time restoration in the FY12 budget.
  • HIV/AIDS Prevention – $1.406 million PEG: The mayor’s FY12 November Financial Plan cut funding for HIV prevention programs.

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 VOCAL-NY is a grassroots membership organization led by low-income people living with HIV/AIDS and coordinates a network of HIV/AIDS housing providers.

Blog, HIV/AIDS, Press Release

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