From our original founding as the NYC AIDS Housing Network, ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic has been at the forefront of our mission. Central to our approach has been a commitment to fighting for basic needs, especially housing, for people living with HIV. In recent years, VOCAL-NY has also been a leading member of the coalition that made New York State the first jurisdiction in the world to commit to a plan to end AIDS.
VOCAL-NY’s involvement in efforts to create and fulfill New York’s Plan to End AIDS by 2020 has included community organizing and mobilization, creating pathways for leadership by people with HIV, and deeply engaged policy work on access to housing, harm reduction services, and government appropriations. We use every option available to win greater health and safety for people with HIV, from working on the governor’s End AIDS Task Force to civil disobedience and everything in between.
VOCAL-NY’s HIV/AIDS work is carried out through our Positive Leaders Union, which brings together low-income people living with HIV to fight for their health and rights. Want to join the fight to end the AIDS epidemic? Contact Jason Walker at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our accomplishments include:
- Passed the No Condoms as Evidence bill that prohibited possession of condoms to be used as evidence of prostitution.
- Won the HASA 30% Rent Cap, a 10-year campaign that resulted in a 30% cap on income paid for rent for approximately 14,000 NYC HIV/AIDS Services Administration (HASA) beneficiaries. The policy, enacted in 2014, saved thousands of people from becoming homeless, and increased thousands of people’s disposable income for basic necessities like food, medication, and transportation.
- Won ‘HASA for ALL,’ an expansion of lifesaving housing and services to all people with an HIV diagnosis in New York City.
- Prevented the elimination of housing and nutrition programs for 45,000 low-income people living with HIV/AIDS and their kids that Mayor Bloomberg sought to close through millions in budget cuts.
- Restored nearly $4 million for supportive housing programs serving low-income people living with HIV/AIDS with substance use and mental health issues.
Organizational members that founded VOCAL-NY, then known as the NYC AIDS Housing Network, worked to create a comprehensive local law codifying the City’s Division of AIDS Services, the right to medically appropriate emergency housing (not shelter) and a comprehensive list of rights. This remains one of the most progressive pieces of welfare rights legislation anywhere in the country.
Main image: VOCAL-NY members marching at the 2015 International AIDS Conference in Washington DC.