NYC's Division of AIDS Services Denying Emergency Housing to People with AIDS
AIDS Advocates Transform HRA Lobby Into Makeshift Shelter for People with AIDS Activists Claim DASIS Gave Wrong Address
New York City, September 25, 2000 -- Twelve representatives from the Coalition to Save Emergency Housing arrived at the Human Resources Administration headquarters at 9 a.m. and chained themselves together in HRA's front lobby. The advocates were protesting the illegal practice by New York City's Division of AIDS Services and Income Support (DASIS) of denying emergency housing to People with AIDS.
The advocates claimed that DASIS had referred them to the "HRA Hotel" at 180 Water St. and carried DASIS referral slips with HRA's address printed on top. It is common practice for DASIS to provide clients incorrect addresses on housing referral slips. The representatives from the Coalition to Save Emergency Housing explained that they were tired and created a makeshift shelter by throwing down pillows and sheets on the HRA lobby floor.
Over the last three weeks, DASIS had suddenly begun to turn people living with AIDS requesting emergency shelter onto the streets. In many instances, clients were simply thrown onto the streets to fend for themselves. Those clients who were provided housing referrals often found that their referral slips contained incorrect addresses. Other clients arrived at hotels to discover that their names were not on hotel lists or that the City had failed to pay for their room. The legal right to same-day emergency shelter for People with AIDS has been upheld in several recent court cases against the City of New York. Members of The Coalition to Save Emergency Housing risked arrest today to bring attention to the city's illegal and inhumane treatment of homeless people living with AIDS.
For the last three weeks, the Coalition has organized a "DASIS Watch" at the Amsterdam DASIS Center at 400 Eighth Avenue. Every weeknight at 5 p.m., advocates stand guard outside the center until every last client is housed. On some evenings, the watch has lasted until as late as 1 a.m. The ongoing vigil is intended to monitor DASIS' housing practices and to put pressure on the administration to comply with its legal obligation to provide shelter to people living with AIDS. This is an ongoing human rights watch, and all are welcome to join at 400 Eighth Ave. each weeknight at 5p.m.
The Coalition to Save Emergency Housing will continue to stage demonstrations and hold nightly vigils outside DASIS offices until the City complies with its legal obligation to find medically appropriate, same-day housing for People with AIDS.
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