Housing Works Protests in Brooklyn Heights Against AIDS Funding Cuts

Several readers complained of being awakened or disturbed this morning by a noisy demonstration along Clark Street. We have learned that the protest was organized by Housing Works, the same folks who run the popular thrift shop on Montague near the corner of Henry Street.

It was aimed at Heights resident Robert Doar, Commissioner of the City’s Human Resources Administration/Department of Social Services (pictured above), to call attention to planned changes and cuts in services offered to people living with HIV/AIDS.

Demonstrators gathered outside Commissioner Doar’s house “on a wealthy block” here, followed him along Clark Street to the subway, and rode with him to his place of work in Manhattan. Commissioner Doar has stated his views on this issue in a post on HuffPo.

(Photo: Housing Works)

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  • Master Of Middagh

    @Ex-Heightster- You are just a little insane. Don’t believe me? Ask your therapist. Don’t have one? That’s the problem…

    By your logic it would be ok to straight up punch a baby in the face if it was for a good cause. It wasn’t a “big, necessary statement” as you claim- there were plenty of more appropriate places they could have protested. What exactly do you think is “necessary” about bothering the man at home in a residential area instead of outside the Dept. Of Social Services?

    And what exactly did it accomplish? Apart from getting the hood mad at them? Nothing… So, it can hardly have been necessary, seeing as how it wasn’t worth it for what they got.

  • Knight

    People in positions of responsibility often have to make decisions where no one comes out the winner, least of all themselves. This is especially true in the social services arena, where budgets are shrinking and the decisions made have a direct impact on people’s lives. We ask those who assume this responsibility to make the best choice possible under the circumstances. And those people have to live with the ramifications of their decisions. Such is the case with Commissioner Doar.

    Robert Doar is not a bad person with an evil agenda against those living with HIV. He is a man with great responsibility for the social welfare of people from all walks of life who depend upon the City for services. If he restores the planned budget in this area, he’ll have to cut deeper in another area (homeless services, kids programs, senior citizens assistance, etc). I’m sure he would love to have a budget that never needed to be cut, that little would make him happier than to be able to say “yes” to everyone who has a need in this city. But that’s not reality. As citizens, WE gave him budget restrictions and WE asked him to make decisions. Then WE followed him to work, publicly harassing him for doing OUR dirty work. That’s just not right.

  • Master Of Middagh

    Well said, Knight.

  • Ex-Heightster

    @Master & Knight:

    I’m not so sure you’d be making such smug comments about these people taking action if you were suffering from HIV/AIDS yourself!? It might seem more important to you if that were the case.

  • Ex-Heightster

    Moreover, has Mr. Doar’s life been ruined because he was inconvenienced on morning on the way to work?

  • Master Of Middagh

    And how do you know I’m not HIV positive, Ex-Heightster? That’s pretty presumptious of you, like most of your assertions. Foolishly acting against one’s own interest for the sake of throwing a public hissy-fit is a bad idea regardless of the cause or one’s standing in the controversy.

  • Knight

    My comments were not smug; they were simply stating the reality of what it’s like to be the person who has to make funding decisions that impact the lives of others when the funds to be allocated are shrinking. So tell me why you are more qualified to make decisions about the NYC social services budget than Robert Doar is and if I believe you I will keep my “smug” comments to myself.

  • Knight

    BTW Ex-Heightster, when you tell us why you believe you are more qualified than Commissioner Doar, please also let us know whose budget you would cut in order to restore funding to those living with HIV & AIDS. Would it be the homeless? Senior Citizens? School children in poor neighborhoods? And let us know why they are less important than those whose budget you seek to restore. They’re not easy questions to answer. Either way, some group of citizens will be heartbroken & outraged. But these are the questions we expect Robert Doar to deal with EVERY DAY. I’m all for standing up to injustice, which is precisely why I feel it’s wrong to harass the commissioner for doing his job.

  • Ex-Heighster

    @Master of Middagh:

    I assumed you’re not HIV positive because if you were, I’d expect you’d be more appreciative & respectful of those activists who had every right to protest & seek needed publicity for a very important cause!

    Btw, and how do you know I’m not HIV/AIDS positive?


    If you haven’t noticed, government bureaucrats are highly-insulated from the public they are supposed to serve, they often make mistakes, and many have agendas that are not in the people’s best interests!

    These activists protested because they feel Mr. Doar is NOT doing his job properly nor fairly, and they have the right to do so!

    If they did anything illegal, and I don’t believe they did, then they would be subject to arrest.

  • Master Of Middagh

    Ex-Heighster- And your making assumptions is EXACTLY why you get everything wrong. And I never made any comment about your potential HIV status, so you can’t complain that I did the same to you. Full discloser- I tested negative just the other day (always good to get checked every once in a while if you’re active).

    Also, in your remarks to Knight, you also make the assumption that the protesters had any evidence or reason to believe that Mr. Doar was “NOT doing his job properly nor fairly”. In the absence of that, do you still think it fair to harass someone for doing their job fairly and properly merely because you don’t like the result?

  • Miky


    These protestors did do something illegal. In fact, they violated numerous laws related to protests. They did not have a permit. They blocked streets. They used amplified sound. They began their protest before 9am. I think they also used illegal signage.

    I am sure, however, that you believe that these laws shouldn’t matter either since they were somehow serving your perception of the greater good.

    Your position seems to be, in short, these guys were protesting for a cause in which you believe and therefore there should be no limitations on what actions they take. As others, far more articulate than I, have pointed out, however, the protest was because they disagreed with the way a government official made certain allocation decisions. Nothing was illegal about his decision.