NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — People sickened with HIV or AIDS and seeking help from New York City to pay their rent could become ineligible for housing assistance if they refuse to go into substance abuse treatment.

The unusual policy twist has angered advocates and lawmakers, who say it could lead to a surge in homelessness among people already straining to keep up with bills. A city spokeswoman says that’s unlikely.

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The City Council’s general welfare committee will discuss the new policy at a hearing Wednesday, along with other changes at the HIV/AIDS Services Administration.

The administration is set up to help those in need who have fallen ill because of the virus. The Human Resources Administration oversees its programs.

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A spokeswoman for the Human Resources Administration says the goal of the substance abuse initiative is to improve clients’ health.

Health officials say more than 110,000 people in New York City are infected with HIV, more than in any other U.S. city and about 75 percent of all cases in the state.

For more information about the HIV/AIDS Services Administration, click here.

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