In its constant struggle for a balanced budget, the city decided it would only pay half of the normal fee to real estate brokers that find apartments for HIV/AIDS Services Administration clients in an effort to save $4.8 million.
According to City Limits, the city figured HASA had enough market clout where brokers would want to work with its clients regardless of the fee cut, but it has proven to be incorrect. Even if they could afford to, HASA clients are not permitted to pay brokers the difference.
The number of brokers willing to work with HASA clients has plummeted by as much as 90 percent, according to some local AIDS activists, and impoverished AIDS victims too sick to safely reside in homeless shelters are left unable to find apartments.
HASA clients already face illegal discrimination from landlords as brokers say the miniscule incomes and frequent criminal histories of these HASA home-seekers already make it difficult to find them apartments. The lesser fee now renders the payoff not worthy of the trouble. One broker who had worked with the HASA program in the past dealt with a client who was unwilling or unable even to pay for the credit check required by landlords. [City Limits]