Prominent New York City landlord and real estate professional Barry Hers offers a look back at the city’s HIV/AIDS Services Administration and its programs.
The HIV/AIDS Services Administration—commonly known as HASA—helps those living in New York City with AIDS or HIV to gain access to benefits and support. HASA clients may receive help with, for example, medical care, as well as direct links to New York City Human Resources Administration services such as food stamps, employment services, and counseling. One of HASA’s most vital and most called upon services, meanwhile, centers around emergency and non-emergency housing assistance, supported by New York City property owners and landlords such as Barry Hers.
Hers, a real estate professional who owns properties across the city, including 60 Clarkson Avenue in Brooklyn plus a nearby address on Flatbush Avenue, among many others, was, he says, one of the first landlords in New York City to embrace HASA’s housing assistance programs. “What we today know as HASA was first created in 1985 as a unit serving those with HIV and AIDS,” he explains, “before it expanded into the so-called Division of AIDS Services and Income Support, 10 years later, in 1995.”
Barry Hersko & HIV/AIDS Services Administration
Hers continues, “A further five years on, in 2000, the Division of AIDS Services and Income Support was renamed the HIV/AIDS Services Administration, or HASA, as it remains today.”
HASA is part of the New York City Human Resources Administration, a department of the government of the city, in charge of the majority of its social services programs. Other services and programs within the New York City Human Resources Administration, intended to promote employment and personal responsibility, and to provide temporary assistance and work support, include the Family Independence Administration, Employment Services, the Long Term Care Services Program, the Home Care Services Program, the Office of Domestic Violence, the Office of Child Support Services, Adult Protective Services, the Home Energy Assistance Program, and the Office of Citywide Health Insurance Access.
While the state of New York is divided into fifty-eight local social services districts, New York City itself, which is comprised of five separate boroughs, or counties, forms just one individual district. Outside of New York City, each of the remaining districts corresponds to only one individual county, or borough equivalent, according to Hers. “Here in New York City, HASA currently operates confidential offices and housing programs across all five of the city’s boroughs,” he adds.
Further to programs tailored toward providing safe, clean housing for those suffering from AIDS and HIV-related illnesses, HASA also offers a number of other services. These include assistance in helping to apply for services such as Medicaid, transportation and cash assistance, mental health and substance abuse screening, treatment referrals, and employment and vocational services.
More recently, HASA services were also extended to low-income residents of New York City who are HIV positive but asymptomatic. “It’s estimated that the organization’s programs currently help upwards of 32,000 people here in the city,” adds Barry Hers, wrapping up.