New York City Council Adopts City Budget for FY13 and Restores Most HIV Funding
The New York City Council, led by Speaker Christine Quinn, voted to approveNew York City’s budget for FY2013. City Council will use discretionary funds to restore nearly $5.1 million for life-saving supportive housing programs serving 4,500 formerly homeless people living with HIV/AIDS. This triggers a state match and brings the total funding to $7.2 million. City Council also restored nearly $1 million for HIV/AIDS food and nutrition programs.
Speaker Quinn is taking a strong stance on our issues and recently told Gay City News that passage of Local Law 49 of 1997, which codified into law what is now known as the HIV/AIDS Services Administration (HASA), was “one of the things I am most proud of in my entire career.” She added that the Bloomberg administration would erode the law “over my dead body.”
With the exception of the $4.8 million the city saves by not paying half the broker’s fees that help homeless people with HIV transition in to independent housing, all of Harlem United’s budget priorities were realized and restored.
Here’s a breakdown of the restorations that impact Harlem United directly:
Please contact Kimberleigh J. Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org, with questions or requests for more information.
June 15, 2012
New York, NY- Yesterday, the New York State Senate vetoed legislation (S.4098), drafted to create an affordable housing protection for more than 10,000 low-income New Yorkers living with HIV and AIDS and their families – many of whom are Black and Latino - and are at risk of becoming homeless.
“We are gravely disappointed and frustrated in the Senators who voted against this important bill,” said Steven C. Bussey, Harlem United’s Chief Executive Officer. “It’s unfortunate that New YorkState would turn its back on these individuals, who are risk of becoming homeless because of the disproportionate amount of their household income that has to go to rent. Many of the tenants living with HIV with whom Harlem United works are left with literally just a few dollars a day for food, transportation and other necessities. ”
The “30% Rent Cap” bill would have amended the New York State Social Service Law to limit the percentage of income payable toward shelter costs by persons living with HIV and AIDS to no more than 30% of the household income, much like other enhanced rental assistance programs such as the federal program Section 8. Harlem United’s own analysis has revealed that clients whose rent share was capped at 30% paid rent more consistently compared to those who were subject to the $330 rule (from 41% to 84%).
With 586 housing units - housing nearly 1,000 men, women and children- Harlem United is one of the largest AIDS housing providers in New York City. Tenants can access many of the full range of services for which they are eligible at Harlem United, a full-service community-based AIDS service organization with health care, dental care, mental health, prevention programming, HIV testing and more.
Senior Director for State & Local Policy
Kimberleigh J. Smith, MPA306 Lenox Avenue, 3rd. Floor
New York, NY (March 13, 2016) – Harlem United Community AIDS Center (Harlem United) is proud to welcome Douglas Berman as Senior Vice President of Policy. “I am excited to have Doug join the agency. Harlem United has a long history of leadership in cutting edge healthcare, housing and prevention policy with particular expertise in HIV/AIDS, and I’m looking forward to Doug raising the bar” said Steven C. Bussey, Chief Executive Officer. “The knowledge and experience of health care and homelessness he brings to our policy portfolio is unsurpassed, as well the passionate advocacy he is known for.”
“This is a great opportunity to advance policies that are driven by the needs of the homeless and people living with HIV/AIDS,” said Mr. Berman. “Harlem United is a forward looking direct service agency grounded in evidence based, outcome driven programs that can result in impactful policies that address the current state of the homeless and the HIV/AIDS epidemic.“
Prior to joining Harlem United, Mr. Berman served as Director of Policy and Government Relations for Care for the Homeless. During his tenure he helped oversee the establishment of 20 clinics and a 200 bed shelter for medically frail and mentally ill homeless women. Mr. Berman was also part of the policy teams at the Children’s Health Fund and GMHC. His expertise includes financing of and access to primary care for the underserved, managed care for special populations, health centers, and the emergency housing in New York City. His advocacy is always informed by ethical considerations of discrimination against and privacy, confidentiality, and consent for homeless people.
Mr. Berman holds a Master of Science in Jurisprudence, Health Law and Policy from Seton Hall University Law School. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Arts and Psychology from Clark University and a Master’s Degree in Art History from the University of Chicago
Since opening its doors in 1988, Harlem United (www.harlemunited.org) has served thousands of people in the diverse communities of Upper Manhattan, South Bronx and Brooklyn; providing a full range of medical, housing, prevention and supportive services predominantly to African-American and Latino individuals living with HIV/AIDS, whose diagnoses are often complicated by addiction, mental illness, and homelessness.
HARLEM UNITED KICKS OFF HIV TESTING CAMPAIGN WITH
MICHAEL K. WILLIAMS AT THE FORT GREENE FESTIVAL
Acclaimed Actor and “Boardwalk Empire” Star Runs ING NYC Marathon 2011
on Behalf of Leading AIDS Service Organization
NEW YORK, June 25, 2011 — Michael K. Williams, star of the successful HBO series ―Boardwalk Empire,‖ has joined Harlem United Community AIDS Center’s running team to participate in this year’s ING NYC Marathon.
―Our collective awareness of and education about HIV has decreased as the virus has shifted out of the media spotlight and the public consciousness,‖ said Mr. Williams. ―I want to remind people that testing should not be an afterthought. Instead, they should become proactive in their health care.‖
The June 25th event will kick off Harlem United’s ―Let’s Do It‖ HIV testing/education campaign.
Michael K. Williams and several co-stars from ―Boardwalk Empire‖ will promote the need for education and HIV testing at the event. The Fort Greene Fest, located in Brooklyn’s Fort Greene Park, is a day-long food, music and film festival in celebration of the excellence and creativity of the Fort Greene/Clinton Hill community. Harlem United will provide free HIV/STI testing from 1:00 – 7:00 pm.
Mr. Williams, a long-time AIDS advocate, will also officially announce his plan to run in the ING NYC Marathon 2011 and raise money in support of Harlem United.
―This is one of the greatest races in the entire world, but I want it to have a purpose,‖ said Mr. Williams. ―It takes a community to curb the spread of HIV, and we all need to work together to empower people – young and old – to make the right choices about their health. It’s my hope that others will join me and Harlem United on this amazing journey.‖
HIV/AIDS continues to have a disproportionate impact on communities of color with rates of new HIV diagnoses in Central Harlem that are more than twice those for New York City overall. Last year, Harlem United provided more than 8,000 HIV tests to the community. Sexually Transmitted Diseases are on the rise in New York City as well, and even more in the Harlem community. According to an NYC Department of Health report, in 2009 Chlamydia was 85% higher in Central Harlem compared to NYC.
For almost three decades, Harlem United Community AIDS Center has provided high quality comprehensive HIV care, prevention and housing to clients regardless of race, socio-economic status or sexual orientation. For more information about Harlem United please visit www.harlemunited.org
HARLEM UNITED HOSTS “PREP FOR SUCCESS:
FEMALE EMPOWERMENT, EDUCATION AND HEALTH SCREENINGS”
Workshop to Address the Concerns Facing Women in Harlem
NEW YORK, April 28, 2011 — On May 6, 2011 Harlem United will again be hosting “Prep for Success” for women in the Harlem community at its health center on 179 East 116th Street from 5-9 pm. The event will include resume building, interview training, sex education workshops, complimentary make-overs and free HIV/STI screenings. Identifying a need in the community to address the most pressing concerns currently facing women the program is designed to empower as well as provide a networking opportunity.
This women’s only event will also feature “HIV 101” and Safe Sex workshops. Though the combination of job counseling and sex education may seem unusual, Aisha Muhammad, Harlem United’s Program Coordinator and event organizer disagrees, “It’s all connected. How you feel about yourself, your confidence, will directly impact your professional success. We don’t want to just give you the basic skills, but we want to empower you with the confidence to succeed, which includes knowing the dangers of unprotected sex and taking control of your future.”
On hand will be representatives from the New York State Department of Labor to provide job counseling and advice on looking for a job in the more competitive climate. “I attended this event last year, due to the weak economy the interview skills building workshop was timely and very much needed,” said Gayle Greene one of last year’s participants. Different than traditional job fairs this event seeks to empower women to succeed. “By blending together professional training, health and beauty we’re addressing the whole woman, not just financial needs, which quite honestly is what everyone’s facing. What we’re doing is acknowledging that a woman may have more issues to deal with to succeed in the business world,” said Ms. Muhammad.
For almost three decades, Harlem United Community AIDS Center has provided high quality comprehensive HIV care, prevention and housing to clients regardless of race, socio-economic status or sexual orientation. For more information about Harlem United please visit www.harlemunited.org.
Patient Privacy in Fighting the HIV Epidemic Must Be Valued
As the result of an article published yesterday by the New York Post specifically naming Harlem United housing units as the possible residence of an alleged sexual assault victim, speculation has been raised regarding the accuser’s HIV status. Numerous media have also subsequently cited the original article since it appeared.
Harlem United complies with all laws regarding patient privacy and confidentiality, including federal HIPAA rules and Article 27F in New York State. Therefore, we will not comment to confirm or deny the services we provide to any individual.
However, we recognize this as a key opportunity to address the much larger issues and obstacles to care that are inevitably raised for people living with HIV or AIDS when privacy is not valued.
This year marks 30 years since the first case of HIV (then called Gay Related Immunodeficiency Syndrome or G.R.I.D.) was diagnosed. Since that time, our country has come a long way in our ability to prevent and treat HIV, as well as our understanding of it. Society has reached a watershed moment in the history of the HIV epidemic where HIV testing, treatment, and care can dramatically reduce HIV infections and improve health outcomes for people living with HIV or AIDS. Unfortunately, HIV-related stigma and discrimination still remain prominent barriers to reaching individuals who are most in need of HIV testing and care. The social consequences of an HIV-positive test result far outweigh the clinical consequences in the era of life-saving anti-viral drugs. All patients deserve privacy regarding their medical histories and information. However, given the associated stigma, people who have been at risk for HIV must feel even more confident that their privacy will be protected once they seek testing, treatment and support in their efforts to live a full life after an HIV-positive diagnosis.
Harlem United is committed to fighting the HIV epidemic in Harlem and throughout New York City, a goal that relies heavily upon full adherence to patient rights to privacy and confidentiality. Thus, when media or others attempt to use the lingering fears and misperceptions of HIV to add sensationalism or hyperbole to a story, they serve only to further stigmatize the disease and the individuals who live with it. It also creates additional obstacles for organizations such as ours that work to overcome barriers to trust and compliance with our clients every day.
We consider the media an important ally in the efforts to disseminate accurate information about HIV and other related health risks. It is the responsibility of the advocates, government and media alike to create a more evidence-informed community that is empowered with the information and skills needed to have an open dialogue and make the right decisions that will curb the transmission of the disease.
In fact, it is the responsibility of us all.
Steven C. Bussey
For almost three decades, Harlem United Community AIDS Center has provided high quality comprehensive HIV care, prevention and housing to clients regardless of race, socio-economic status or sexual orientation. For more information about Harlem United please visit www.harlemunited.org .
Leading New York City HIV/AIDS Organization Names New Leadership
In Key Management Roles
New York, NY (December 16, 2010) – The Harlem United Community AIDS Center (Harlem
United) Board of Directors has appointed former Board Chair Steven C. Bussey as the
organization’s Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Bussey, Managing Director and National Head of
Client Management for the Healthcare Industry Group for Alvarez and Marsal, fills the position
held by the agency’s long-time former CEO Patrick McGovern. Latraviette D. Smith, Senior
Vice President of Global Communications for Edelman, will become the new Chair of the
agency’s Board of Directors. Both appointments are effective immediately.
Mr. Bussey served on the Board of Harlem United and its affiliates for more than seven years,
most recently as Chair for the past three years. He was also a member of the Executive, Finance, Communications and Development committees and has been instrumental in the development of the organization’s strategic vision.
“Over the past seven years, I have had the pleasure of helping Harlem United to develop its
strategic plan, ensure fiscal responsibility and deliver the highest quality of care to our clients…I am excited and honored to transition into this leadership position in an agency with such a comprehensive and extensive model of care. We will continue our focus on ensuring that the most disenfranchised population has access to a continuum of services that includes healthcare, housing and prevention services,” said Mr. Bussey.
Prior to joining Alvarez and Marsal, Mr. Bussey was the Chief Financial Officer and Chief
Operating Officer of Apyrous Capital Management, LLC. He has also served as the Director of
Global Markets and Financing Services and Head of Fixed Income Prime Brokerage Sales at
Merrill Lynch, a Director for Credit Suisse Prime Services as part of the Prime Services sales
team and creator of the Prime Solutions group.
Mr. Bussey, who grew up in Harlem, earned his bachelor's degree in economics from the
University of Pennsylvania and his master's degree in business administration in finance and
entrepreneurship at the Simon School of Business at the University of Rochester.
“Steven’s chairmanship has been instrumental in shaping the strategic direction and growth of
Harlem United, and this is a prime period of transition and opportunity for us,” said Ms. Smith.
“The Board is confident that Steven – building upon his knowledge of policy, commitment to
the agency, and strong relationships within the community – will provide the continuity in
leadership and strategic focus necessary to ensure that the agency remains client-focused while successfully navigating the evolving healthcare landscape moving forward.”
Mr. Bussey will be supported in his new role by Harlem United’s existing Executive Team
consisting of Stephane Howze, Chief Operating Officer; Neil Flynn, Chief Financial Officer;
Sara Gillen, Senior Vice President, Community Health Services; Kelsey Louie, Senior Vice
President, HIV/AIDS Treatment and Support Services and Dr. L. Jeannine Bookhardt-Murray,
Chief Medical Officer.
"In his many years of service on and leadership of the Board, Steven has demonstrated a
passionate commitment to Harlem United's mission and a deep understanding of its vision and
values,” said Mr. McGovern. “His vast management expertise will complement the deep
programmatic expertise of Harlem United's executive team. Together and with Latraviette as
Chair, they represent a dream team to further enhance access to care for our most vulnerable
In 2009 Harlem United serves more than 12,000 New Yorkers. Its prevention division provided
more than 8,000 HIV tests, exchanged 350,000 clean syringes and provided numerous behavioral change initiatives for Black gay men and high-risk women. Its housing division provides more than 558 units of supportive housing with a strong emphasis on strengthening clients’ access to health care. The health care division offers primary medical care, oral health care, psychiatry and mental health counseling in addition to AIDS Adult Day Health Care. In 2007, Harlem United became a federally qualified health center, expanding its health care services to homeless persons regardless of their HIV status.
Since opening its doors in 1988, Harlem United (www.harlemunited.org) has served thousands
of people in the diverse communities of Upper Manhattan, South Bronx and Brooklyn; providing a full range of medical, housing, prevention and supportive services predominantly to African American and Latino individuals living with HIV/AIDS, whose diagnoses are often complicated by addiction, mental illness, and homelessness.
Questions Regarding Access and the Role of Community-‐Based Organizations Comes to the Forefront
NEW YORK – Harlem United Community AIDS Center, Inc. joins with public health officials, HIV and AIDS researchers, gay and bisexual men, and people living with and concerned about HIV and AIDS in welcoming the international iPrEx clinical trial results, which show efficacy in preventing HIV incidence among gay and bisexual men. This landmark study examined whether the two drugs tenofovir plus emtricitabine (brand named Truvada®) used to treat HIV could also help prevent HIV infection when taken once daily. The clinical trial showed an average of 44% reduction in HIV infections among study participants when combined with risk-‐reduction counseling and condom usage. Protection from HIV infection became even stronger (90% efficacy) for those who consistently took the pill every day.
Gay and bisexual men make up the largest number of individuals who are becoming infected with HIV in the United States and are the only population whose annual HIV incidence continues to increase year after year. While more research is needed, the iPrEx results promise to add another tool to comprehensive HIV prevention efforts for gay and bisexual men and transgenders. Harlem United senior vice president for community health services, Sara Gillen notes, "These results are exciting and should not be viewed as a panacea. Consistent and correct condom use still offers the best protection against HIV exposure. Routine HIV testing, guaranteed access to health care and treatment for all HIV-‐positive persons, and comprehensive supportive services will remain essential to our efforts to end the HIV epidemic in the United States."
"With rapid implementation of PrEP highly likely, we look forward to working with researchers and the government to effectively communicate the results of clinical trials," said Kali Lindsey, Harlem United senior director for federal policy. "Community-‐based organizations (CBOs) and public health advocates welcome the advent of additional evidence-‐based strategies that expand opportunities for gay and bisexual men to experience full, satisfying, and protected sexual lives."
At the same time, there are many outstanding questions about access and availability of these potential treatments for gay and bisexual men who are at high-‐risk for HIV infection and others. For example, approximately 3,400 individuals remain on waiting lists to obtain their antiretroviral medications through the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP). The majority of these individuals are obtaining their medications through State Pharmacy Assistance Programs (SPAPs), increasingly critiqued as an unsustainable approach.
And, while the recently enacted Affordable Care Act introduced Pre-‐existing Condition Insurance Plans to the country starting in September of this year, premiums are not affordable for many low-‐income people living with HIV and AIDS. "The results of the trial are hitting prime time in our communities and we have to be ready to translate for our clients," said Stephane Howze, Harlem United's chief operating officer, "The changing healthcare landscape only underscores the urgent need to better define the role of CBOs, particularly those that provide primary care and connect high-‐risk, HIV-‐negative individuals to high-‐quality preventive services. CBOs will need to educate our clients and help them access proven-‐ effective biomedical strategies that can prevent the spread of HIV."
Harlem United's prevention program employs a bifurcated strategy to educate the Harlem community about their HIV status. One-‐track engages populations that are disproportionately at-‐risk for HIV with HIV testing, education and other preventive services, while a second track offers HIV screening and other preventive services block by block to persons who may be at risk but are unaware. Founded in 1998, Harlem United provides a full range of medical, social, and supportive services to predominantly African-‐American and Latino individuals living with HIV/AIDS, whose diagnoses are often complicated by addiction, mental illness, and homelessness.