Brigid Bergin is the City Hall reporter for WNYC. She covers city politics including the 2013 mayoral race and transition.
Cuomo 'Trying Actively' To Resolve Homeless Issue, After Telling City 'Next Year'
Wednesday, March 26, 2014
City and state officials have reopened talks on an agreement on how to fight homelessness, just days after the governor's office declared that it was too late to get it done in time for this year's budget.
Governor Andrew Cuomo is trying to “actively resolve the homeless issue,” an administration official told WNYC on Wednesday.
Cuomo, who was secretary for Housing and Urban Development under President Clinton, has worked on the issue for decades. He even led a city commission for Mayor David Dinkins that proposed an overhaul to city shelter system in the early ‘90s.
But this week, city and state officials seemed to be at an impasse.
The back and forth started Monday after Homeless Commissioner Gilbert Taylor told a City Council budget panel that the city wants to offer rent subsidies to families in which at least one member works full time. The plan would require the state to remove language from the budget that prohibits the city from using state and federal funds for rent subsidies, he said.
A spokeswoman for Cuomo called the proposal ‘too late’ for this year’s budget. But Mayor de Blasio characterized it as a simple “miscommunication.”
City officials and advocates went to Albany to lobby on Tuesday, and on Wednesday the City Council passed a resolution supporting the proposal.
Now Cuomo administration officials are softening their tone – and say the Governor is "is exploring different ways to resolve this problem."
The de Blasio administration welcomed the shift.
“We know Governor Cuomo deeply cares about addressing the homelessness crisis,” said de Blasio spokeswoman Maibe Ponet. “We look forward to continuing our work together for an immediate plan to help working families exit shelter and into private housing."
While the budget deadline is April 1, lawmakers need to reach a deal by the end of the week for the bills to pass on time.