February 7, 2023
CONTACT: Mariah McGough, email@example.com
ON NATL. BLACK HIV/AIDS AWARENESS DAY, VOCAL-NY CALLS FOR FUNDING FOR STATEWIDE HOUSING FOR NEW YORKERS LIVING WITH HIV
VOCAL-NY is Calling for State Lawmakers to Include Funding for Rest of State Housing for People Living with HIV/AIDS in Their One-House Budgets
NEW YORK — Today, to honor National Black HIV Awareness Day and urge the New York legislature to support people living with HIV/AIDS, VOCAL-NY released the following statements:
“I am a 60 year old African American woman that lives in Monroe County, where there were the highest instances of new diagnosis of HIV/AIDS during the pandemic,” said Tracie Adams, a Rochester-based leader with VOCAL-NY. “We are aging and have special needs. The governor needs to sign onto Rest of State Housing, which will give all New Yorkers the services they need, save lives, and save the state money in the long run. Housing is healthcare.”
In 2020, there were 125,383 people living with HIV in New York State, and 1,963 people were newly diagnosed with HIV. In New York City specifically, the Health Department report found Black and Brown New Yorkers made up over 80% of HIV diagnoses in 2021.
Rest of State Housing (S183/A2418) would create a permanent, statewide rental assistance program for People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) outside of NYC. In the five boroughs, PLWHA via the NYC HIV/AIDS Services Administration (HASA) program receive support with a 30% rent cap, intensive case management and assistance in applying for public benefits and services, along with providing care coordination, nutrition and transportation assistance.
An infrastructure of care like this does not exist for PLWHA living outside of New York City. According to the 2015 New York State’s Blueprint to End the AIDS Epidemic, an estimated 2,000 to 6,000 PLWHA outside NYC have an unmet housing need. Housing is a critical, evidence-based public health strategy for PLWHA because unstable housing is strongly associated with poorer health, lower rates of exposure and access and adherence to HIV treatment, and sub-optimal HIV treatment outcomes.