NEW YORK — As New Yorkers bundle up amid frigid temps in the new year, the political heat continues to sizzle between Albany and City Hall.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo doubling-down Monday afternoon, a day after signing an executive order requiring law enforcement to take homeless people off the streets when the mercury falls below freezing, "I have been working on the homeless issue all of my life," said Governor Cuomo at a media avail on Monday.
The Governor later adding, "We know how to do this."
The mandate forced Mayor Bill de Blasio on the defensive, as Governor Cuomo continued to offer his critical perspective on the crisis, "New Yorkers are paying when they have to walk down the block and pass a person lying in the doorway or pass a person sleeping on a park bench. This is not New York. It's not what we believe. It's not who we are. We don't live like that, and by the way it's getting worst and everybody knows it's getting worst."
The city has already logged record numbers, and the historic high has taxed the shelter system, with the number one concern highlighted by Governor Cuomo being safety, "What I have been hearing from providers and homeless people is --- 'They don't want to go to the shelters because the shelters are dangerous,' The shelters are unsafe,"
It is a comment that PIX11 News heard months ago when we began a series of reports on the homeless crisis. Following Governor Cuomo's comments PIX11 News asked Mayor Bill de Blasio for his take at a news conference at NYPD headquarters, "There are very real things that have to be fixed that are within our shelters. We're on that case."
Mayor de Blasio added that there is now a much closer working relationship between the NYPD and the Department of Homeless Services as a result of peace officers who were brought in to remove troublemakers from shelters and isolate them. However, admitting that there is still much work needed to be done, "We have to continue to make the shelters safer and and better for anyone who ends up in them, but our goal is to get people out of shelter."
While the issue of money from the city was initially raised on Sunday according to reports, Governor Cuomo responded to PIX11 News when asked about the city and the surplus it recently announced, "Well if the city has a surplus, and you have announced and the controller has announced, that would make the repair easier, because it's not going to be an issue of money."