Governor Andrew Cuomo continues to poke at Mayor Bill de Blasio on the city's homeless policies. The governor's latest target is the city's shelter system, which the governor claims is woefully inadequate. Zack Fink filed the following report.
After issuing an executive order on Sunday to force homeless New Yorkers off the street and into shelters when the temperature drops, Governor Andrew Cuomo is now saying there is a whole other problem: shelters that are dirty and unsafe.
"That is just unacceptable, on two levels," Cuomo said. "First of all, the taxpayers of this state pay $1 billion a year in providing shelters. $1 billion."
Cuomo vowed to sit down with City Comptroller Scott Stringer in the coming days to discuss how to address the city's shelter system for homeless families. Cuomo has been sparring with Mayor Bill de Blasio on homelessness issues, and Stringer is a potential mayoral challenger to de Blasio, who is up for re-election next year.
"What our audits are showing is, the shelter system is a mess. We are not doing enough to make those shelters safe," Stringer said. "Think about this. Twenty-three-thousand children are going to spend a night in shelters in deplorable conditions.
Cuomo was on the West Side monday to kick off a union-funded campaign to raise the minimum wage in New York State to $15 per hour.
Last year, Cuomo convened a wage board that made $15 minimum a reality for some 300,000 fast food workers. A schedule to phase in that higher wage has already begun.
In November, he put 10,000 state workers on the same schedule, and on Monday, the governor announced his latest executive action, which paves the way for 28,000 employees in the state university system to also receive $15 an hour.
The governor framed the issue in moral terms.
"You abuse the worker, and you take advantage of the worker. And you pay them a minimum wage that is not a minimum wage. That is forcing them to choose between rent and food. Then, you are doing the wrong thing as a society," Cuomo said.
Cuomo was short on specifics, but he did promise to may out a comprehensive vision on how to deal with the homeless crisis in his State of the State and Budget Message. That's not this week in Albany, but next week, January 13.