Thursday, November 29, 2012

Housing Works Protest in NYC 11/29/2012


Media Contact:
Sunny Bjerk

Photos of event:

New York, NY November 29 2012—Today AIDS activists and advocates from Housing Works are making their feelings about the current state of HIV/AIDS very clear, taking over Manhattan’s City Hall Park and protesting New York City’s and the country’s lack of progress in ending the AIDS epidemic.

AIDS activists from Housing Works have just climbed two flagpoles in the park and unfurled a thirty-five foot banner that reads, “Housing is Healthcare: House People Living with HIV/AIDS.” The banner is being unfurled on between the two flagpoles at the southern end of City Hall Park at the corner of Broadway and Park Row. 

Two activists are staying perched on top of the flagpoles, while several have chained themselves to flagpoles’ base chanting, “Housing is healthcare, house people with AIDS!” Their vocal strength reflects the anger at the lack of resources and policy interventions that prioritize housing as a key intervention in stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS. 

Stable housing has been shown to be the strongest structural intervention available to help people living with HIV/AIDS better adhere to their care and treatments, and lower the risk of exposing others to the disease.  Put simply, the AIDS pandemic cannot be ended without addressing homelessness and housing instability among people living with HIV/AIDS and other chronic conditions.

Since Mayor Bloomberg took office in 2002, New York City’s homeless population has reached its all-time high, with the number of homeless sleeping in shelters doubling over the last decade. Bloomberg has also reduced the assistance people living with HIV/AIDS receive to pay brokers’ fees to secure housing, as well as repeatedly blocking NYS legislator’s attempts to cap the rents of people living with HIV/AIDS at 30% of their legal income.  Most recently, Bloomberg’s proposed city budget plan will change the eligibility requirements under the HIV/AIDS Services Administration (HASA)—including reduced levels of financial assistance and mandatory work requirements—and may also feature cuts to the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and their HIV bureau.

The civil disobedience comes two days before World AIDS Day, a global day of remembrance of those lost to the disease. 

Housing Works is a healing community of people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS. Our mission is to end the dual crises of homelessness and AIDS through relentless advocacy, the provision of lifesaving services, and entrepreneurial businesses that sustain our efforts.


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