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Help needed for those people living with AIDS and seeking housing

REGINALD BROWN | 1/23/2014, 3:37 p.m.

Now that Bloomberg’s out of the picture—after leaving behind a record number of homeless New Yorkers in shelters—we have the best opportunity yet to pass this vital legislation. Mayor Bill de Blasio has a long history of supporting this legislation and promised to champion it during his mayoral campaign. Both de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who de Blasio worked for when Cuomo served as the secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development during the Clinton administration, know how important a 30 percent rent cap in housing assistance programs is for preventing homelessness.

Housing for people living with HIV/AIDS is health care. People living with HIV/AIDS who have stable and affordable housing are much more likely to have a healthy immune system and an undetectable HIV viral load and to practice HIV prevention.

There’s a growing scientific consensus that says we can end AIDS, even without a vaccine or cure. But all the advances in medicine and science will only be effective if people living with HIV have that most basic thing—safe, decent and affordable housing.

Reginald Brown is a leader in VOCAL-NY, a community organization dedicated to addressing the root causes of HIV/AIDS, mass incarceration and the drug war.