Taipei AIDS housing policy illegal, discriminatory: CDC

By Joy Lee ,The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — It is discrimination and against the law for Taipei City Government to exclude AIDS patients from applying for social housing, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC, 疾病管制局) said yesterday.

According to the Taiwan AIDS Foundation, the Taipei City Government publicly announced recently that seven groups of people will be excluded from applying to live in five of the designated social housing communities in Taipei, including AIDS patients, homeless people and victims of natural disasters.

The Taiwan AIDS Foundation said such a policy amounted to discrimination.

“The HIV virus is only contagious through certain transmission pathways,” the foundation said, “and living in the same neighborhood is not one of them.”

CDC Deputy Director-General Chou Chih-hau (周志浩) said that according to the HIV Infection Control and Patient Rights Protection Act, the dignity and legal rights of infected patients should be protected and respected. There should be no discrimination, no denial of education, medical care, employment, nursing care, housing or any other unfair treatment.

“The Housing Act also stated that social housing should be provided to 12 groups of people with special conditions or an identity including people affected with HIV virus,” Chou said, “so the Taipei City government violated these people’s housing rights by further categorizing them.”

The Taipei City Government’s Department of Urban Development (DUD) said the Housing Act states that at least 10 percent of designated social housing is to be rented to the 12 groups of people with special conditions or identities. Therefore, as long as people are part of those 12 groups as designated in the Housing Act, they are welcome to apply for social housing.

“Except for social housing,” the DUD said, “there are other social welfare measures for people with special conditions or identities such as homeless shelters, midway homes and shelters for women as well as public institutions for disabled people.”

The DUD said that based on the principle of evenly distributing social welfare resources, the Taipei City government designated five out of the 12 groups as priority groups for the five social housing communities in Taipei area.