Mayor Giuliani Defends New York City’s Housing Plan for HIV-Positive Homeless People
In response to a New York Daily News report yesterday, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani (R) "insisted" that the city saves money by occasionally housing HIV-positive homeless people at luxury hotels, the Daily News reports (Ingrassia, New York Daily News, 4/12). The paper reported yesterday that last weekend, the city's Human Resources Administration paid as much as $329 per night to put up homeless people with AIDS in four-star hotels, such as the Sofitel New York, "where guests can enjoy marble tubs and stunning views of the city." The city's Division of AIDS Services and Income Support, an arm of the HRA, is required by a 1999 court order to find housing for HIV-positive homeless people on the day they request it (Ingrassia, New York Daily News, 4/11). Giuliani said that the agency occasionally has to turn to luxury hotels when cheaper housing is not available. "It's hard to explain to people, but the city has no other choice. There are times when you just can't find a place for someone to go. ... You have to find a place and you have to do it at the last minute," he said (Bergen Record, 4/12). Giuliani added that the agency's approach actually saves money, saying, "Occasionally, what will happen is you've got to pay a lot for a room, but if you went ahead and got all that permanent housing, you pay even more." But housing advocates called the mayor's statement "callous" and "shortsighted" and said the agency's approach "denies homeless people with AIDS a stable place to live." City Controller Alan Hevesi said, "Placing homeless persons with AIDS into luxury hotels is bad for them because it's so temporary and so disorienting." A Manhattan Supreme Court justice has ordered the HRA to establish a plan to house 500 families by April 23 "or face contempt charges." (New York Daily News, 4/12).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.