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Associated Press
Outcry over NYC HIV/AIDS housing help policy

February 7, 2012
Associated Press - February 7, 2012

NEW YORK -- People sickened with HIV or AIDS and seeking help from New York City to pay their rent could become ineligible for housing assistance if they refuse to go into substance abuse treatment.

The unusual policy twist has angered advocates and lawmakers, who say it could lead to an increase in homelessness among people already straining to keep up with bills.

A city spokeswoman says nobody will be denied shelter because of the policy.

The City Council's general welfare committee will discuss the policy Wednesday, along with other changes at the HIV/AIDS Services Administration.

A spokeswoman for the agency that oversees the administration's programs says the goal of the substance abuse initiative is to improve clients' health. Carmen Boon says those refusing treatment would be offered the choice of supportive housing, where on-site services would be provided.