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April 30, 2010

NYC Mayor Bloomberg Opposes HIV Housing Bill

A bill that would help thousands of HIV-positive New Yorkers afford housing passed the State Senate on April 27, but New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s office is urging Governor David Paterson to veto the bill, The New York Times reports. The bill, which Paterson has already promised to sign, would create a 30 percent rent cap for HIV-positive people receiving housing assistance through the city’s HIV/AIDS Services Administration (HASA).

According to the article, Bloomberg’s office argues that the measure would burden the city’s already flagging budget. In a January memo to senators, the office said the city would spend $150 million on HASA this fiscal year, and that this affordable housing bill would increase that cost by 10 percent. Advocates counter that the bill would result in fewer evictions and less strain on emergency housing services.

At present, many HASA beneficiaries spend more than half their income on rent.

Jessica Scaperotti, a spokesperson for the mayor, said the bill set an “expensive precedent” in that it bases the rental income contribution on medical diagnoses as opposed to income.

“As sympathetic as we are to the people who this would help, this nevertheless is yet another unfunded mandate from Albany, and one that will have significant immediate and long-term costs,” she said in a statement.

Search: New York, Mayor Bloomberg, HIV positive, housing, bill, Governor David Paterson, HIV/AIDS Services Administration

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