Press Statements

Lawmakers Stand with Advocates and People Living with HIV to Urge Statewide HIV Rental Assistance Funding in FY25 Budget

March 26, 2024

CONTACT: Mariah McGough,, (203) 470-9979


See Videos and Pictures from the Rally Here

Despite Six Years of Advocacy, Governor Hochul, the Senate, and the Assembly Omit Crucial Funding in Budget Proposals

Albany, N.Y. — March 26, 2024 —  Today, elected officials joined forces with Housing Works, VOCAL-NY, and other HIV community members, providers, advocates, and New York State and local public health authorities for a press conference, demanding the FY25 Budget reflect statewide HIV rental assistance in New York State.

For the sixth consecutive year, the proposed budgets from Governor Hochul, the Senate, and the Assembly have overlooked the urgent need to expand statewide HIV rental assistance. Despite over 2,500 households living with HIV outside of New York City facing homelessness or housing instability, critical language to extend this assistance statewide is missing from current budget proposals. To ensure comprehensive support, the legislature must prioritize statewide HIV rental assistance by:

  • Providing access to the NYS HIV Emergency Shelter Allowance program for low-income/homeless individuals living with HIV outside NYC, supporting rents up to 110% of HUD Fair Market Rates.
  • Extending NYC’s HIV affordable housing protections statewide, capping rent for extremely low-income individuals with HIV at 30% of their disability or other income.
  • Recognizing the fiscal challenges of communities outside NYC by providing 100% funding for HIV Shelter Allowances and limiting rental contributions to 30% of income.

Housing stability is a fundamental right and a critical component of public health. By ensuring statewide access to HIV rental assistance, New York State can significantly reduce homelessness, improve health outcomes, and advance equity for all its residents.

Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal, said: “For New Yorkers with HIV, stable housing quite literally can mean the difference between life and death. There are approximately 20,000 extremely low-income people with HIV in New York City who rely on the New York State HIV Emergency Shelter allowance program and affordable housing protection in the form of a 30% rent cap. These supports enable recipients to achieve and maintain viral load suppression, stopping ongoing HIV transmission and saving millions in Medicaid costs on avoidable crisis care and new infections. It’s unjust that this support is not available to the approximately 2,500 low-income New Yorkers with HIV outside living outside of New York City. I’m pleased that the Senate included language in our one house budget to change that. It’s time that we finally provide the same lifesaving support to all low-income New Yorkers living with HIV that we currently give to those living in New York City.” 

MJ Okma, Senior Manager for Advocacy and Government Relations at SAGE: “Over half of New Yorkers living with HIV are over the age of 50, and that percentage is projected to grow to over 70% by 2030. As New York’s HIV community grows older, there is an urgent need for a more comprehensive approach to health and social services. Equitable access to lifesaving HIV housing assistance across New York State is essential to support the growing population of New Yorkers aging with HIV. Evidence shows that housing assistance for low-income people living with HIV improves retention in HIV care, viral suppression, and overall health. New York must ensure all New Yorkers living with HIV and long-term survivors have access to the supports they need to age in place by including Rest of State Housing in the state FY25 budget.

Senator Jeremy Cooney said: “Thousands of New Yorkers with HIV are currently facing housing instability and homelessness. Access to housing is about giving these individuals a stable place to live and receive life-changing treatments. I’m proud to support rental assistance funding for New Yorkers with HIV and I’m hopeful we can include this transformational investment in this year’s budget.”

Jason Barnecut-Kearns, President and CEO of Trillium Health said: “Every New Yorker who is living with HIV and living in poverty should have access to safe, affordable housing. Studies have shown that people with stable housing are more likely to achieve viral suppression, which helps individuals stay healthy and prevents the spread of HIV. Trillium Health is calling on state officials to provide housing assistance for all extremely low-income, HIV-positive New Yorkers in the final three-way budget agreement. We applaud Assemblymember Harry Bronson and Assemblymember Demond Meeks for championing this issue in Rochester. Together, will work tirelessly to End the HIV Epidemic.”

Steven Stewart, Residential Aide, Housing Works said: “I am living proof of the benefit of stable housing for people living with HIV. I’ve been HIV positive for over twenty years, and I couldn’t imagine my life without stable housing. After receiving services from HASA, I received my first apartment in the Bronx, I’ve lived in Flatbush and now Crown Heights, each apartment better than the last. Stable housing isn’t just a home; it is healthcare.”

Pedro Benitez, VOCAL-NY Leader and Board Member said: “It’s past time the Governor fixes the language budget. We’ve given her too many chances. She could very easily change the failed budget language from the previous administration, and ensure that people are housed. instead, our state dollars are going toward funding the police. It has been six years of this fight, and people are dying. So we’re urging her to do something about this ASAP.”

About Housing Works

For 30 years, Housing Works has fueled the fight to end HIV and homelessness. Our Thrift Shops and signature events directly benefit our trailblazing work in grassroots activism, healthcare, and housing. Housing Works led the way during the height of the AIDS crisis in New York City and continues to lead advocacy efforts across the country in support of social justice.


Voices of Community Activists and Leaders (VOCAL-NY) is a statewide grassroots membership organization that builds power among low-income people directly impacted by HIV/AIDS, the drug war, mass incarceration, and homelessness. We accomplish this through community organizing, leadership development, advocacy, direct services, and direct action.


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