Most housing for HIV-positive New Yorkers violates city codes
June 30 2004 12:00 AM ET
About 73% of emergency housing facilities for low-income HIV-positive people in New York City have outstanding city housing code violations--about one third of which are for serious offenses--according to the oversight and investigations committee of the New York City council. The report examined 25 of 114 facilities used by the city's HIV/AIDS Services Administration to house about 31,000 HIV-positive people. The report found that half of the units didn't include mattresses, bedding, or toilet paper, all of which is required by HASA rules. Nearly six out of 10 units forced HIV-positive residents to share bedrooms, which is also forbidden by HASA regulations. Many of the facilities also lacked heat, electricity, hot water, and locks on the doors, and several others were infected with rats and roaches. The city also regularly pays facility owners more than $2,000 per month per person for substandard housing that is not medically appropriate for HIV-positive people, according to the report.
The city council committee called for the creation of a central housing referral system to monitor the quality of emergency and permanent housing offered to the city's needy HIV-positive residents. "Safe, medically appropriate housing is integral to the health of those who live with HIV/AIDS," city council speaker Gifford Miller told the New York Post. People with "low or no incomes turn to HASA for help, not another slap in the face," he added. A spokesman for the city Human Resources Administration said the agency will investigate all housing complaints filed against specific housing units and take any necessary remedial steps.