A group of low-income community members living with HIV/AIDS gathered outside New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s Lower East Side home this morning. New York City AIDS Housing Network representative Charles Long told The Real Deal said that the group had gathered outside Silver’s home at 550 Grand Street and has since moved on, marching outside 250 Broadway, where several New York City Housing Authority offices are located. Long said that the group plans to take over the lobby in a few minutes.
The 75 HIV/AIDS advocates, family members and friends came together in an effort to sway Silver toward passing a state bill that would permit 11,000 formerly homeless New Yorkers living with HIV/AIDS to pay a smaller percentage of their disability check toward the subsidized housing. Currently, clients of the HIV/AIDS Services Administration rental assistance program are required to pay between 50 and 80 percent of their monthly disability check in order to remain in the housing. This bill would require that only 30 percent of that monthly disability income be put toward their rent. Members of the New York City AIDS Housing Network at the event said in a press release that Silver’s support is integral toward the bill’s passage. “Without Speaker Silver’s leadership, 11,000 New Yorkers with AIDS will continue to be on the brink of homelessness,” Gustavo Pedroza, a housing network member, said. “If he looks at the big picture, Speaker Silver will understand that affordable housing for people with AIDS saves both money and lives.” TRD