The lingering recession continues to wreck the most havoc on the most vulnerable populations. Evidence of this can be found in New York City’s housing courts, which are overrun each day by financially-strapped individuals and families facing eviction from their homes. Among these defendants, the worst hit by the housing crisis are immigrants, who cannot turn to the city’s Human Resource Administration for emergency rental assistance to help them ride out the recession.
Responding to their needs, AID FOR AIDS, through its New York Immigrant AIDS Link (NYIAL) program, last year began an initiative to link these clients to two housing assistance programs—GMHC’s Sustainable Living Fund and the Hispanic AIDS Forum’s Rental Assistance Program (RAP). Already, approximately 100 NYIAL clients have obtained assistance through this initiative, enabling them to improve their quality of life and remain in their homes. The mission of NYIAL’s team includes providing advice and concrete assistance to clients during the application process. Our staff also provides follow-up once the clients have been approved to ensure that they continue to enjoy the benefits of these assistance programs.
As New York and other American cities continue to slash their anti-poverty budgets, such assistance programs for vulnerable populations will assume an even greater role in maintaining a viable social safety net and softening the devastating impact of the Great Recession.