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Cuomo Working on Compromise to Get Assistance for Homeless Families

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Just one day after saying too little too late, Governor Andrew Cuomo is now working on a compromise on getting rental assistance for homeless families, an issue that has become the latest dispute between the governor and Mayor Bill de Blasio. NY1's Courtney Gross filed the following report.

Governor Andrew Cuomo started the week saying that a rental assistance program for homeless families was a non-starter. It was another key proposal from Mayor Bill de Blasio that the governor was shooting down.

Taking a shot at City Hall, Cuomo said that the mayor's team was too late to the negotiating table.

"It's late in the day to put something in the actual budget because the budget train has basically left the station," he said Tuesday. "So to start a new proposal, it's too late."

On Wednesday, however, Cuomo apparently changed his mind. A source in the governor's office told NY1 that the governor is now "actively working" to resolve the issue.

The governor appeared to be backing down as pressure mounted from other elected officials and advocates.

"I don't understand why that the governor indicated that it was just too late," said Public Advocate Letitia James. "I reject that, and I refuse to accept any excuses."

What City Hall wants, exactly, is to have a paragraph removed from the state budget that prohibits the city from using state money on rental assistance for working homeless families.

On Wednesday, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver voiced his support for the change.

"I support him on that. I think it's the right thing to do," Silver said.

That came one day after council members and homeless advocates went to Albany to meet with state lawmakers on the issue.

"We talked to a lot of assembly members, senators. I was talking to anybody that would meet with me," said City Councilman Stephen Levin of Brooklyn.

When told of the news from the governor's office, a City Hall spokeswoman quickly offered an olive branch. In a statement, she said, "We know Governor Cuomo deeply cares about addressing the homelessness crisis, and we look forward to continuing our work together."

Even if City Hall is successful in changing the language in the state budget, it still faces another hurdle in Albany, and that's getting money to fund the program.

Details have not been worked out, but under one proposal from City Hall, at its highest estimate, the program could cost $115 million and include 2,800 working families.

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