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N.Y. Senate Passes HIV/AIDS Rent Cap

N.Y. Senate Passes HIV/AIDS Rent Cap


The New York state senate passed a bill Tuesday that would cap at 30% of income the rent contribution of people receiving housing assistance from the New York City HIV/AIDS Services Administration (HASA). The bill, which passed the assembly in January, now heads to Governor David Paterson for signature.

The bill, sponsored in each chamber by out legislators, Sen. Tom Duane and Assemblymember Deborah Glick, passed the senate by a 42-19 vote with no debate.

According to advocacy group Housing Works, the bill is a "tremendous victory" that corrects a flaw in the state's housing benefits law that singles out low-income residents living with HIV/AIDS.

"All people who receive federal housing subsidies, such as Section 8, benefit from a 30 percent cap on their rent, so they don't have to decide between buying essentials like shampoo and toilet paper and paying rent.

"However, the HIV/AIDS Services Administration (HASA), which provides housing assistance to poor New Yorkers living with AIDS, is a joint city/state program -- so HASA has not been obligated to cap rents at 30 percent of income," reports Housing Works.

The bill could potentially help as many as 11,000 low-income New Yorkers living with HIV/AIDS, say advocates.

The bill also passed the senate last July by a vote of 52-1 after an impassioned floor speech by Duane, who is HIV-positive. The assembly did not take up the bill last session.

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