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Letter to Governor Cuomo on Ending AIDS in New York State

New York State HIV/LGBT Advocacy & Service Provider Community

February 18, 2014

The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor
The Capitol
Albany, NY 12224

Re: The End of AIDS in New York State – 30-day amendments

Dear Governor Cuomo:

We write to follow-up on our January 14, 2014 letter regarding the development of a plan to end AIDS in New York State. In addition to creating a Task Force to End AIDS in New York to promptly develop a strategic blueprint and plan in collaboration with the community and the DOH AIDS Institute, we urge you to include the following items in your 30-day amendments to the 2014-2015 Executive Budget:

  • $10 million in new funding for the AIDS Institute to implement the plan developed by the above noted task force;
  • Article 7 language to eliminate the use of condoms as evidence of prostitution by police and prosecutors; and
  • Article 7 language to legalize the possession of syringes.

We are immensely grateful for your announced support last week of an affordable housing protection to ensure that disabled people with HIV/AIDS who receive rental assistance pay no more than 30 percent of their income towards their rent. The 30 percent rent cap is a central element of any plan to end the epidemic and can be expected to prevent homelessness among at-risk people with AIDS who are presently living independently, or wish to leave supportive housing for independent housing, and enable others with AIDS who are now in emergency SROs to move into much needed supportive housing. Including the 30 percent rent cap among your 30-day amendments has inspired hope and celebration among all of us and those we serve.

We are also gratified that you and key officials have readily recognized that New York State is well-positioned to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic and have taken valuable steps to do so, including a proposal to institute and jointly fund with New York City the 30 percent rent cap. But we again emphasize that the success of any initiative to end the HIV epidemic in NYS will require your active engagement and leadership, most notably by creating the task force and including the above items in your 30-day amendments.

As a result of the work to date by your staff and the DOH AIDS Institute, we know that these items are important elements in any plan to end the epidemic and will get us started in the right direction in the coming fiscal year. We urge you to act now – to make that commitment real in budgetary and program terms via the 30-day amendments – and thereby save both lives and money.

We welcome the opportunity to work with you and to further discuss our shared agenda. On our behalf, please contact Daniel Tietz at dtietz@acria.org or at 212-924-3934 ext 103. Thank you.

Sincerely,
Daniel Tietz
Executive Director
AIDS Community Research Initiative of America

Sharen Duke
Executive Director/CEO
AIDS Service Center NYC

Carl Siciliano
Executive Director
Ali Forney Center

Teresita R. Rodriguez
CEO
APICHA

Regina R. Quattrochi
CEO
Bailey House, Inc.

Jose Davila
President/Chief Administrative Officer
BOOM!Health

Glenda G. Smith
Executive Director
Bridging Access to Care

Erin M. Drinkwater
Executive Director
Brooklyn Community Pride Center

Jay Laudato
Executive Director
Callen-Lorde Community Health Center

Diane Arneth
President/CEO
Community Health Action of Staten Island

Nathan Schaefer
Executive Director
Empire State Pride Agenda

Jennifer Jones Austin
Executive Director/CEO
Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies

Vaughn E. Taylor-Akutagawa
Interim Executive Director
Gay Men of African Descent, Inc.

Janet Weinberg
Interim Chief Executive Officer/ COO
Gay Men’s Health Crisis, Inc.

Katherine Acey
Executive Director
GRIOT Circle, Inc.

Steven C. Bussey
CEO
Harlem United Community AIDS Center, Inc.

Allan Clear
Executive Director
Harm Reduction Coalition

Paul Vitale
President/CEO
HELP/PSI

Thomas Krever
Executive Director
Hetrick-Martin Institute

Charles King
President/CEO
Housing Works, Inc.

Ingrid Floyd
Executive Director
Iris House

Kevin M. Cathcart
Executive Director
Lambda Legal

Guillermo Chacón
President
Latino Commission on AIDS, Inc.

Jeffrey L. Reynolds
Executive Director
L.I. Council on Alcoholism & Drug Dependence
Vice-Chair, NYS AIDS Advisory Council

William Morán-Berberena
Executive Director
Metropolitan Community Church of New York

C. Virginia Fields
President/CEO
National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS, Inc.

Glennda Testone
Executive Director
NYC LBGT Community Center

Carolina M. López
Executive Director
New York Harm Reduction Educators (NYHRE)

Pauline Park
President of the Board of Directors
& Acting Executive Director
Queens Pride House

Michael Adams
Executive Director
Services and Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Elders

Joyce A. Rivera
Founder & Executive Director
St. Ann's Corner of Harm Reduction

Mark Harrington
Executive Director
Treatment Action Group

Emma DeVito
President/CEO
VillageCare

Sean Barry
Executive Director
VOCAL-New York