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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or at 212-924-3934 ext 103. Thank you.
AIDS Community Research Initiative of America
AIDS Service Center NYC
Ali Forney Center
Teresita R. Rodriguez
Regina R. Quattrochi
Bailey House, Inc.
President/Chief Administrative Officer
Glenda G. Smith
Bridging Access to Care
Erin M. Drinkwater
Brooklyn Community Pride Center
Callen-Lorde Community Health Center
Community Health Action of Staten Island
Empire State Pride Agenda
Jennifer Jones Austin
Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies
Vaughn E. Taylor-Akutagawa
Interim Executive Director
Gay Men of African Descent, Inc.
Interim Chief Executive Officer/ COO
Gay Men’s Health Crisis, Inc.
GRIOT Circle, Inc.
Steven C. Bussey
Harlem United Community AIDS Center, Inc.
Harm Reduction Coalition
Housing Works, Inc.
Kevin M. Cathcart
Latino Commission on AIDS, Inc.
Jeffrey L. Reynolds
L.I. Council on Alcoholism & Drug Dependence
Vice-Chair, NYS AIDS Advisory Council
Metropolitan Community Church of New York
C. Virginia Fields
National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS, Inc.
NYC LBGT Community Center
Carolina M. López
New York Harm Reduction Educators (NYHRE)
President of the Board of Directors
& Acting Executive Director
Queens Pride House
Services and Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Elders
Joyce A. Rivera
Founder & Executive Director
St. Ann's Corner of Harm Reduction
Treatment Action Group