When we began in 1999, VOCAL-NY (then the NYC AIDS Housing Network) emerged as one of the leading groups to win quality, stable housing for people living with HIV/AIDS to improve health outcomes, and literal life expectancies of people whose homelessness could have been a death sentence.
During these early years we joined coalitions to support the larger fight for affordable housing for all, and to end homelessness. We played a leading role in campaigns to strengthen rent laws, and build more affordable housing.
While our primary focus is to win quality housing for low-income people impacted by the war on drugs, mass incarceration and HIV/AIDS, we are dedicated to the belief that safe, affordable and stable housing is a human right for all.
This work is carried out by our Homelessness Union, which unites people who are currently or formerly homeless to win quality housing.
Related LEGISLATION & Demands
VOCAL-NY’s Homelessness Union is dedicated to ending homelessness, and our 2023 New York City platform is based on holistic solutions to the crisis by focusing on access to services and care, rapid rehousing, and an end to the criminalization of homelessness.
Across the state, Homeless New Yorkers residing in temporary housing lack basic internet access, barring individuals and families from searching and applying for permanent housing and jobs, participating in remote schooling, applying for government benefits, obtain necessary medical care, and more. The bill ensures reliable internet access for all individuals residing in temporary housing and calls on the state to cover one hundred percent of the expense incurred by the local social services district to provide such internet access.
Mandates that any homeless outreach initiated by the city be conducted by non-violent service workers trained in trauma-informed care and provides tangible support items, such as a pair of socks. The bill would prohibit the city from issuing tickets or summonses to homeless New Yorkers using materials or parts to create bedding or temporary shelter.
Prohibits housing discrimination on the basis of arrest or conviction history in NYC and makes criminal background checks or inquiries about an arrest or conviction record at any stage in the application process an unlawful discriminatory practice.
A state-funded rental assistance program which dedicates at least 50% of the program’s vouchers to help homeless New Yorkers across the state find stable housing.