Property mogul and New York City native Barry Hers takes a closer look at the recent changes to HASA program eligibility in the city.
First established in the 1980s and supported by landlords and property investors such as Barry Hers, HASA, as the organization is known today, exists to assist individuals living in New York City with HIV and AIDS. Renamed the Division of AIDS Services and Income Support in 1995, the program became the HIV/AIDS Services Administration—or HASA—in 2000, and, more recently still, was extended to serve thousands of further individuals living in New York City who are HIV positive but asymptomatic.
“Thousands more people are today eligible for assistance with housing, transportation, and food under HASA’s expansion,” adds Barry Hers —one of the first landlords in New York City, he says, to embrace the organization’s early housing assistance efforts—of the ever-evolving state program.
Until the recent extension of HASA’s services was granted, back in 2016, some activists had held fears that an update to the program’s terms would be delayed indefinitely, according to Hers.
Today, however, thousands of low-income New York City residents who are HIV positive but asymptomatic are now able to receive the same assistance as low-income residents of the city who are HIV positive but show symptoms.
“Around 7,000 additional people are understood to have immediately benefited from the changes, and many more since,” points out Hers of the expansion of the program which currently helps in excess of 32,000 people in New York City.
Under the HASA program, New York City’s Human Resources Administration helps individuals suffering from HIV and AIDS who spend upwards of 30 percent of their total income on housing by reimbursing them the difference.
Initiatives such as HASA, as well as the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, are largely supported by individuals such as Barry Hers, whose offices are based in Brooklyn, close to a number of properties which the New Yorker has selflessly entered into these and other similar schemes.
New York City, the most populous and most densely populated city in the United States—home to more than 8.6 million people—is currently focused on financing and administering a plan intended to end HIV and AIDS in the city by the end of the decade.
Barry Hers, meanwhile, is a respected property investor, landlord, and real estate professional known for his charitable efforts and philanthropic nature. Based in Brooklyn, Hers has now supported programs such as HASA and the Emergency Rental Assistance Program for more than a quarter of a century.