Court Rejects City’s AIDS-Housing Contempt Appeal

In the last week of 2001, a state appeals court denied the Giuliani administration’s request to appeal Judge Emily Goodman’s decision finding the city in contempt of court for failing to house homeless people with AIDS.

Judge Goodman had found the city in contempt last May for violating a court order she issued in Hanna v. Turner, the 1999 case that guaranteed same-day emergency housing placements for homeless New Yorkers living with AIDS.

The case involved a lawsuit filed by Armen Merjian, senior staff attorney at Housing Works on behalf of 17 clients identified by the NYC AIDS Housing Network’s human-rights monitors as representative of the hundreds of people living with AIDS that the city left without emergency housing placements. The city tried to say that the relatively small number of affidavits filed did not show “substantial compliance.” The appellate court, rightfully, understood that contempt was only filed after several months, a few widely publicized and attended public hearings, tons of media and hundreds of personally reported other cases of city HIV/AIDS Services Administration (HASA) clients being left out in the cold.

The 17 plaintiffs, homeless people living with HIV/AIDS–some of whom were left sleeping in the streets for four-day holiday weekends–will be financially compensated for their suffering if the city either doesn’t decide to appeal one last time, or if that appeal is also denied. As it stands now, Jason Turner, Giuliani’s Human Resources Administration commissioner, is still held in contempt of the court decision.

The NYC AIDS Housing Network’s (NYCAHN)HASA Human Rights Monitors continue to stand in front of the Amsterdam welfare center every single evening to ensure that the city continues to provide emergency housing placements and other entitlements.

For more info contact, NYCAHN at (718) 802-9540.