Bloomberg Stands By Homeless Policy, Denies Rift With Quinn

Mayor Michael Bloomberg defended the city's new homeless policy in the face of a threatened lawsuit by the City Council.

Bloomberg said it's fair to require single adults entering the shelter system to prove they have no alternative housing options.

"All we’re trying to establish is if you have private means — you should do it. If you don’t, this city is willing to reach into its pocket, and to make sure that nobody sleeps on the streets," he said. "But that doesn't mean that we're going to pay everybody's rent, nor could we afford to.”

The mayor said the city has been requiring homeless families to abide by a similar rule for more than a decade.

Bloomberg also denied any bad blood between himself and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who supports the lawsuit. He said he has "enormous respect" for her and they haven't discussed the pending litigation.

City Council members authorized the lawsuit on Tuesday, saying the policy was cruel and would lead to more homelessness. The suit is expected to be filed in a couple of weeks.

The new policy was supposed to be implemented earlier this month but was put on hold after a separate lawsuit was filed by the Legal Aid Society.