NEW YORK (FOX5NY) - It has been a year of finger pointing when it comes to New York City's homeless crisis. Critics have blamed Mayor Bill de Blasio for not doing enough. The mayor and the Department of Homeless Services have blamed the past.
But now it looks like the mayor is taking at least some of the blame. He appeared on the Brian Lehrer Show saying that he has to own everything: things that worked, things that didn't.
In recent months critics have attacked his administration for not having what they say is a clear-cut plan. Protestors marched at hotels-turned-shelters. De Blasio promised to lay out a solution soon. He stopped short of taking full responsibility, citing part of the problem on the city's previous regime.
Mayor Mike Bloomberg launched the Advantage Program in 2007. It offered subsidies to homeless people with jobs to help them transition out of shelters and into affordable housing. But four years later the state cut its funding and the program went defunct.
De Blasio said when Advantage was canceled in April 2011 about 36,000 people lived in shelters, so by the time he took office that had grown to about 50,000.
Critics, including Councilman Steven Levin, point to that year-- 2011-- as the beginning of what we see today: a homeless crisis that's ballooned to historic levels.
In a statement a spokesperson for Gov. Cuomo's office said that blaming the Advantage Program for the city's current homeless problem doesn't tell the whole story.
"It was Gov. Cuomo who made and secured the unprecedented $20 billion five-year commitment to affordable and homeless housing," the spokesperson said. "The first $150 million subject to the Memorandum of understanding has been released and we're eager to reach an agreement on the balance. We urge the legislature to join us in keeping these projects moving and helping to ensure every New Yorker has a safe, decent and affordable place to call home."