New York City Failing To Provide Housing for People With HIV/AIDS, Audit Says
New York City is failing to meet its "legal obligation" to provide housing for residents with HIV/AIDS, according to an audit released on Wednesday by city Comptroller William Thompson, Long Island Newsday reports. The audit says that the city's HIV/AIDS Services Administration is in "disarray" because case managers and supervisors are unsure of their duties. Approximately 30,000 New York residents with HIV/AIDS live in "inadequate" housing, shelters or on the street, and HASA case managers often do not track housing applications, leaving people "stranded in homeless shelters for months," according to Newsday. According to the audit, case managers followed up on 10 of the 142 housing applications filed from July 2001 to August 2002 by 104 clients. "I am troubled by a number of weaknesses that make it difficult for HASA to find permanent housing for people with HIV and AIDS," Thompson said, adding, "People are looking to the city for help and instead are facing delays and roadblocks. This needs to stop." Armen Merjian, senior staff attorney with the not-for-profit advocacy group Housing Works, said that the most "disturbing" aspect of the housing situation is the "health status of people being affected," adding, "The gravity of the situation is accentuated when you consider these are people with AIDS. We know for a fact that stable housing is critical to fighting the illness." The city's Human Resources Administration, which oversees HASA, said that it agreed with the report's negative findings. Since the audit was completed, HASA has changed procedures and "overhauled" their referral process, Newsday reports (Ramirez, Long Island Newsday, 7/2).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.