Mayor Michael Bloomberg doesn't dispute a recent report that homelessness has hit a high not seen in decades — with over 50,000 people a night staying in the city's shelters — but he refuses to accept criticism that his administration has failed to tackle the problem.
Instead, he says the state cut the key Advantage rent subsidy program, and that the Coalition for the Homeless, which released the report, backed that decision.
Capital New York reports that Bloomberg said this at a news conference earlier today:
We are having fewer people coming into the homeless system .... They are staying longer. Why? Because the state cut the Advantage program out. When they cut their money out, we also lost the federal monies. Without those subsidies, people don't move out. So if you want to reduce the population, you've gotta go and get those monies back. Keep in mind, it was the Coalition [for] the Homeless that wanted to kill that program and hurt the people in the shelters. So it's a little bit disingenuous for them to start talking about it.
Mary Brosnahan, president of the Coalition for the Homeless, responded in a statement: