Event Recap: “Housing at the Root: LGBTQ+ New Yorkers Deserve Safety and Access to Thrive”– NYLPI Participates on Panel, Meets with Elected Officials in Albany with the Equality New York Coalition, Uplifting the Needs of LGBTQ+ Immigrants

April 19, 2024

Disability Justice, Health Justice, Immigrant Justice, Media Coverage, News, Transplant Equity, UndocuCare, UndocuCare TGNCI+

New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLPI) joined the Equality New York Coalition’s (EQNY)’s 2024 LGBTQ+ Advocacy Day in Albany to ensure that our elected officials hear and respond to the needs of immigrant LGBTQ+ New Yorkers. NYLPI, EQNY, the Caribbean Equality Project (CEP), Make the Road NY (MRNY), and the Ark Immigration Clinic at Congregation at Beit Simchat Torah (CBST) hosted a panel discussion about the impact of housing injustice on queer, gender-nonconforming, and transgender immigrant community members and advocated for the passage of the Housing Access Voucher Program (S.568 Kavanagh / A.4021 Rosenthal), which would set up a statewide rental subsidy program for low-income families and individuals, regardless of their immigration status. 

Panel participants emphasized the reality that LGBTQ+ immigrant New Yorkers have added brilliance, culture, and diversity to the fabric of New York State for decades. However, when unhoused, LGBTQ+ immigrants become highly vulnerable to violence, sexual victimization, hate crimes, and other forms of mistreatment that exacerbate or trigger mental health conditions, extend homelessness, worsen health disparities, and increase criminalization. People of immigrant and LGBTQ+ identities may arrive in New York in search of sanctuary, safety, and new beginnings only to find similar conditions from which they fled, wrongfully criminalized and without stability. NYLPI knows that New York is better when immigrant LGBTQ+ people are not only safe but thriving. Immigrant LGBTQ+ New Yorkers envision and build a more beautiful New York where stability, healthcare, and protection are secured through housing access without systematic discrimination. This is what NYLPI and our community partners are fighting for. Panelists, including NYLPI Health Justice staff attorney Arielle Wisbaum, Bianey Garcia (MRNY), Azeem Khan (CBST), Tiffany Jade Monroe (CEP), Clint Okayama (EQNY/Impact Clint) and moderator, Mohamed Q. Amin (CEP), upheld that at the root of this intersectional struggle is the unwavering understanding that housing is healthcare; housing is a human right. 

In addition to the panel, NYLPI also met with elected officials to support legislation that will increase safety and access to healthcare for TGNCI+ immigrant communities. These bills include: (1) Immunity from Prosecution for Sex Workers and Survivors of Trafficking (Sepúlveda S1966 & Kelles A7471), which will allow sex workers and trafficking survivors to safely seek medical care and report abusers without fear that they themselves will be criminalized, subject to arrest, incarcerated and fined, and (2) Stop Violence in the Sex Trades Act (Salazar S4396 & Jackson A7175), which acknowledges that the current policing of sex work disproportionately affects black, brown, asian, and immigrant communities, and perpetuates violence, poverty, and poor health outcomes.

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