NEW YORK — More than 100 demonstrators, along with bipartisan coalition of three state senators and two city Council Members, stood at the steps of City Hall Friday to speak out on Mayor Bill de Blasio and DHS Commissioner Steven Banks’ mismanagement of the homeless crisis.
“Dump the dope from Park Slope! Dump the dope from Park Slope!” they chanted loudly. The chants have echoed in the outer boroughs in recent months and were heard loud and clear Friday morning.
“This is not a press conference to attack the homeless. This is a press conference to attack the failed policies of the de Blasio administration,” Council Member Eric Ulrich said.
The news conference came during a historic week where city data not only showed the homeless population eclipsing 60,000 for the first time, but also Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Banks increasing the inventory of commercial hotels to warehouse the homeless to approximately 75. Those stats for those at city hall on Friday simply add up to mismanagement.
“The reality is that whatever the Mayor is doing it is not working,” Ulrich said just steps from City Hall’s entrance.
Immediately following the rally, PIX 11 News spoke with the bipartisan coalition and asked them about Mayor de Blasio’s constant pivot during the crisis. The talking points pushback throughout the Mayor’s first term has been to point his finger at the previous administration.
Ulrich immediately interrupted during our questioning and stated, “That is his answer to every problem. He loves to blame Mayor Bloomberg for the failures in the education system, for the failures with the build-it-back program, and Hurricane Sandy recovery initiatives and now with the homeless epidemic.”
One of the demonstrators at the rally, Alan Diaz, is a working father of two children. He also has been homeless for two years
“The system is only getting worst,” Diaz said.
The evidence is all around the city’s landscape with cardboard, shopping carts and mini-encampments becoming more prevalent.
PIX 11 News asked Diaz if he had any message for Mayor de Blasio considering his office was a few yards behind him.
“To make a change, to make the system better, to stop saying that is better and actually make it better. And stop lying to the people and tell them the truth,” Diaz said.
A Mayor’s Office spokeswoman responded for the Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Banks in an email statement:
“Local elected officials should have the courage to take on this problem with the mayor, rather than rally against housing homeless children in their communities.”