Cindy Rodriguez is the Urban Policy reporter for New York Public Radio.
State Senator Tom Duane and the heads of several AIDS organizations around the city blocked a stretch of Broadway near City Hall Tuesday afternoon, holding up traffic for just over 10 minutes, before being arrested by police waiting nearby.
The act of civil disobedience was meant to draw attention to a housing bill that was vetoed by the governor earlier this year. The bill would insure that poor people living with HIV/ AIDS wouldn't have to spend more than 30 percent of their income on rent. Advocates argue the bill saves money in the long run, by lowering the rate of evictions and homelessness.
Governor David Paterson vetoed the bill at Mayor Michael Bloomberg's urging. Both men call it an unfunded mandate that neither the city or state can afford.
Advocates say the bill would affect about 10,000 low income New Yorkers living with HIV and AIDS.
Gerald Deyounge from Brooklyn is one of them. He attended Tuesday's protest and says he's about to be evicted from his current apartment because he can't afford his rent. Deyounge says he lives off a disability payment of just over $1,000 a month and about $700 of that goes to housing. Deyounge says right now his life is stable, but he's not sure where he'll go if he loses his apartment.
Elected officials and several AIDS organizations have been pressing the governor to reverse his veto before the end of the year.