State Senator Brad Hoylman Says Close the HIV/AIDS Rental Assistance Loophole with J.P. Morgan Settlement Funds

Brad Hoylman

February 04, 2014

“The $81.5 million from the J.P. Morgan Chase settlement available to Governor Cuomo for housing-related purposes is an opportunity to close a loophole in state law that discriminates against low income New Yorkers with HIV/AIDS. Currently the state’s HIV/AIDS Rental Assistance Program is excluded from the 30%-of-income rent contribution cap that applies to every other federal and New York State low-income housing program.

Because of this anomaly in the law, low-income New Yorkers with HIV/AIDS must choose between paying for rent or other basic essentials, such as utilities, transportation, clothing, and unreimbursed medical expenses. This predicament places many of them at high risk of eviction and the need for costlier emergency housing. Studies have shown that the Rent Cap proposal will pay for itself by preventing unnecessary costs associated with housing loss and homelessness and also result in significant Medicaid savings.

The cost of extending the cap is estimated at $20 million annually, approximately $6 million of which would be the state share, the remainder to be covered by New York City. At a legislative budget hearing on January 27, 2014, Mayor de Blasio explicitly stated his support for the proposal.

The 30% rent cap for the HIV/AIDS rental assistance program is fair and equitable for thousands of low-income New Yorkers with HIV/AIDS and a cost-effective strategy for taxpayers. I urge the Governor and his administration to use funds from the J.P. Morgan Chase settlement to implement it.”