AIDS Orgs Commend Gov. Cuomo’s Move to Keep PLWHAs Housed & Fed
As budget cuts continue to take a hit on New York City AIDS Service Organizations, two local groups applaud efforts by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo to ensure that people living with HIV/AIDS aren't homeless or hungry.
Cumo promised to help people with the $8 billion in cuts to the Federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recently passed by Congress, plus 30-day budget amendments for affordable housing for the disabled.
"Governor Andrew Cuomo's commitment to bridge the gap in federal funding caused by dangerous cuts to the food stamp program is an example of historic and moral leadership for the entire nation," said Janet Weinberg, interim CEO of GMHC.
Columbia University found that nearly 80 percent of the more than 700 people living with HIV/AIDS in New York City participating in its CHAIN study, have food insecurities due to poverty, access SNAP. Food stamps are vital to ensuring that New Yorkers living with HIV/AIDS have access to the nutrition they need to take their medication and stay healthy.
In 2010, more than 1.7 million people living in New York City received food stamps. Nearly 80 percent of the over 700 people living with HIV/AIDS in New York City who participated in the CHAIN (Community Health Advisory & Information Network) study used food stamps. More than 40 percent of CHAIN study participants reported food insecurity in the past 30 days.
The analysis of CHAIN data shows that people living with HIV/AIDS who are food insecure report poor medical outcomes. They are more likely to miss appointments for HIV primary care and had more emergency room visits compared to those who do not report food insecurity.
From July 2011 to June 2012, GMHC provided over 92,000 hot, nutritious meals and over 38,000 meals in pantry bags to people living with HIV/AIDS in New York City.
ACRIA also applauded Cuomo for ensuring that people disabled by AIDS have a decent and affordable place to live. For the thousands of New Yorkers with AIDS who rely on rental assistance, Gov. Cuomo's 30-day budget amendments are genuinely the difference between having a home and living on the street or in grossly substandard and unhealthy emergency settings.
"This smart public health and budget policy will enable more than 10,000 New Yorkers disabled by AIDS who receive rental assistance to pay no more than 30 percent of their income towards rent," said Daniel Tietz, the executive director of ACRIA. "In addition to being fair and equitable, the Governor's action will not only prevent homelessness for many in independent housing, and end their constant financial struggles and fear of homelessness, it will also enable others with HIV/AIDS in emergency SROs to move into much-needed supportive housing. And as has been repeatedly demonstrated."
Tietz said that housing stability would do much to keep these New Yorkers healthy and engaged in care.
"In combination with the Governor's recent support of the 30 percent rent cap for permanently disabled New Yorkers living with AIDS receiving housing assistance, Governor Cuomo has sent a clear message -- that fulfilling basic needs such as food, housing, health care and medication access are critical to ending the HIV epidemic in New York State," said Weinberg.