January 13, 2014

To the Editor:

I fully support James W. Lister in seeking assistance so as not to pay more than 30 percent of his income in rent (“With New Mayor on Board, Time for Governor to Lead on AIDS Housing,” Jan. 8). Mr. Lister has had AIDS for several years, is disabled and living on a limited fixed income, and clearly needs help. However, he weakens his case and likelihood of success, after saying that he speaks for 10,000 New Yorkers with AIDS, by then insisting that all persons who have acquired the HIV virus, whether or not having the AIDS disease, whether or not disabled, should get the same benefit. This grab for public funds for persons who are infected but not sick or disabled should fail, and if persons like Mr. Lister insist that people without the disease should get the same full benefits, the attempt to get benefits for those like Mr. Lister will also fail.

It is time for realism and not for making the biggest grab possible on the limited public purse. The other low-income housing programs to which he refers are for persons who meet specific criteria, in health and/ or income, for example, and not for those who have a germ but no impairment.

Robert Fleck

Editor’s Note: Some HIV/ AIDS advocates have pressed to expand the city’s housing assistance entitlement to all people who are HIV-positive, but the current proposal for a 30 percent rent cap relates only to people who have an AIDS diagnosis according to guidelines of the city’s HIV/ AIDS Services Administration.


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