Dozens of activists from New York City AIDS service organization Housing Works rallied outside Gracie Mansion on World AIDS Day, calling on Mayor Michael Bloomberg to provide more affordable housing to low-income HIV-positive New Yorkers, Chelsea Now reports.
The mayor held a breakfast that morning, alongside new city health commissioner Thomas A. Farley, MD, to highlight recent triumphs in fighting HIV/AIDS, including the city’s successful condom distribution program and new needle exchange programs as well as the facts that the number of supportive housing units for positive people has doubled and the number of AIDS-related deaths has declined in the past seven years. Bloomberg also discussed lingering obstacles, including the city’s rise in new infections among men who have sex with men (MSM) younger than 30.
| AIDS activists rally for affordable housing in New York City. |
Photo credit: Jennifer Morton/POZ
According to the article, Housing Works members—10 of whom were arrested after attempting to chain themselves to the mansion’s front gate—were protesting Bloomberg’s resistance to a pending state measure to cap the rents of 11,000 low-income HIV-positive New Yorkers to 30 percent of their monthly income. While that rent cap is the standard for other rental assistance programs in the city, state guidelines allow people receiving services through the city’s HIV/AIDS Services Administration to keep just $330 more than their rent payment, which amounts to $11 per day to cover other expenses.
Advocates with the New York City AIDS Housing Coalition joined Housing Works in front of Gracie Mansion, the mayor’s home. The 10 Housing Works activists arrested—including its president, Charles King—were charged with disorderly conduct and disrupting government affairs, and were jailed overnight.
Click here for our full World AIDS Day coverage.