New York state's proposed housing subsidy for the HIV-positive has a major foe: Michael Bloomberg. The New York City mayor is urging Gov. David Paterson to veto the bill that would offer greater rent relief to more than 11,000 New York City residents with HIV/AIDS.
The city just can't afford it, the mayor's office tells The New York Times.
The bill would mean that low-income people receiving housing assistance from the city’s H.I.V./AIDS Services Administration would be required to spend no more than 30 percent of their income on rent. Despite the city’s current subsidy, many beneficiaries of the program still spend more than half of their income on rent. The office of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, which sent a memo to senators in January opposing the bill, said that the city would spend $150 million on the program this fiscal year, and that the new measure would cost it an additional 10 percent. Yet paying more toward low-income tenants’ rent would result in fewer evictions and fewer placements in emergency housing, both of which are expensive, according to Senator Tom Duane, the Democrat from Manhattan who sponsored the bill.
Independent analysts calculate the new law would cost the city and state an extra $19 million a year and result in $20 million in annual savings. On the other hand, Bloomberg didn't have a problem finding $41 million for his proposed Governors Island beautification project. Priorities, priorities ...
The bill passed the Assembly by 84 to 54 and the Senate by 42 to 19. During last July's Senate vote, you may recall that Sen. Duane delivered an angry and emotional 3am floor speech reminding people of the horrors of the 1980s AIDS epidemic.
Governor Paterson says he will sign the bill.