Woman Who Once Ran Mayor's Homeless Initiatives Criticizes Mayor's Response to Homeless Crisis

A one-time top aide to Mayor Bill de Blasio is publicly criticizing his response to the city's homeless crisis. In an exclusive interview with NY1's sister station, NY1 Noticias, former Deputy Mayor Lilliam Barrios-Paoli says City Hall does not have a long-term plan to deal with the problem. NY1's Grace Rauh filed the following report.

City homeless shelters are filled with a record number of people, more than 60,000 on a given night. And now, the woman who once ran the mayor's homeless initiatives is coming forward to blast the response she's seen from City Hall.

"They don't have a long-term plan" former Deputy Mayor Lilliam Barrios-Paoli said through an interpreter. "They are trying to solve the problem here and now, and there's no doubt that that has to be done, but they need to have a goal in the horizon, looking at how in 10 years they can solve the problem in a more permanent way.

In an exclusive interview with NY1 Noticias's Pura Politica program, Lilliam Barrios-Paoli said the mayor's new homeless czar, Steve Banks, and de Blasio are too focused on immediate results at the expense of long-term solutions.

"Without any doubt, I have seen no evidence that they want to open new shelters, a better option than hotels for families, or that they are going to create more permanent solutions," she said through an interpreter.

Barrios-Paoli resigned in the fall of 2015 after apparent clashes with her boss.

"Sometimes, it's not that you have disagreements regarding philosophy or values with the person you work for, but you do have them in the way they do things," she said through an interpreter. "And frankly, the moment came when I thought that leaving was the best option for me."

She is the latest critic of the mayor's homeless agenda to come forward. City Comptroller Scott Stringer and Christine Quinn, the former City Council Speaker, have also recently spoken out.

In response to Barrios-Paoli's comments, a spokeswoman for the mayor said, "Today's focus is on the immediate issue of homelessness, a problem that is tied to decades of poor policy. We are implementing an aggressive plan to move displaced New Yorkers from the streets, to shelter, to permanent housing." 

One part of the city's plan appears to be a new effort to force developers to house homeless New Yorkers in so-called affordable apartments built for low-income New Yorkers. 

Charter Spectrum customers get full access
to all our video, including our live stream.
 

Tune to Spectrum New NY1 on TV, online, online, or on Local On Demand Channel 1020 for:

Road to City Hall, Mon.-Fri. at 7pm and 10pm
In Focus with Cheryl Wills, Sun. at 10:30am & 3:30pm
• On Stage, Sat.-Sun. 9:30am & 7:30pm + Tues. 12:30am
Sports on 1, nightly at 11:35pm and 4am