Federal Judge Halts Rent Increase for Tenants Living in New York City HIV/AIDS Welfare Housing
A federal judge on Monday issued a preliminary injunction blocking a state-ordered rent increase for HIV-positive people living in subsidized housing in New York City, the New York Times reports. Federal District Court Judge Frederic Block told the state it had 45 days to make its case for the increase (Chan, New York Times, 10/31). City officials earlier this month said that people living in the housing would be charged more for rent after the state required that changes be made to the payment formula. The nearly 2,200 HIV-positive people living in the housing pay 30% of their income, which comes from federal assistance, for rent. The new formula is not based on a percentage. Instead, people in the housing would pay all but $330 of their monthly income, which for many is more than half of what they receive in federal assistance (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 10/11). The HIV/AIDS advocacy group Housing Works on the tenants' behalf filed a lawsuit challenging the increase, which was scheduled to take effect on Wednesday, the AP/Long Island Newsday reports. Some housing advocates say that the city was forced by the state Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance to implement the increase. City attorney Martin Bowe wrote in an e-mail, "Although the city prefers to maintain the status quo, we were bound by the state." State officials have said the city has decided to stop paying for the remainder of the subsidy beyond what the state is allowed to pay, according to the AP/Newsday. Michael Hayes, spokesperson for ODTA, said, "This is not a new state policy. The city's been informed of this for many years." He added, "They are choosing now to implement the change." According to the AP/Newsday, tenants and advocates on Tuesday plan to protest outside of Gov. George Pataki's (R) New York City office (Peltz, AP/Long Island Newsday, 10/30).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.