The Real Deal New York

Comptroller holding up millions in homeless shelter contracts

Scott Stringer criticizes "rat-invested hovels" and "fire violations" at nonprofit shelters

September 14, 2015 02:50PM

From left: Scott Stringer and Bill de Blasio

From left: Scott Stringer and Bill de Blasio

Mayor Bill de Blasio and city comptroller Scott Stringer are clashing over tens of millions of dollars in payments to nonprofits sheltering homeless people in New York — with Stringer holding up funds and criticizing the city for placing residents in unsafe conditions.

The comptroller’s office has rejected 33 contracts to nonprofits operating such shelters since both Stringer and de Blasio took office in January 2014, while the Homeless Services Department says it has withdrawn another 21 contracts that it felt needed more documentation to meet Stringer’s demands for registration.

The rejections affect organizations providing over 1,900 beds for single adults and 875 units that house families, according to the New York Times, and are the latest source of friction between the de Blasio administration and the comptroller’s office.

“The bottom line is I am not approving contracts that place families in rat-invested hovels or fire violations,” Stringer said. But the de Blasio administration and advocates claim the comptroller’s office is denying nonprofits the very funding that could help them make repairs at shelters.

Stringer has been outspoken in his criticism of city audits, and targeted the New York City Housing Authority earlier this year for underreporting its maintenance backlog and closing work orders without performing repairs. [NYT]Rey Mashayekhi