State budget provision blocks rent-subsidy funding

Jan.January 24, 2014 02:52 PM

A new budget released by Governor Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday blocks state reimbursements to rental-subsidy programs Mayor Bill de Blasio wants to implement to tackle New York City’s growing homelessness.

Despite the measure’s language, a spokesman for Gov. Cuomo told the Wall Street Journal that the governor is open to discussing the creation of a new rental subsidy program to replace the Advantage program, which was cut in 2011 and caused a surge in the city’s homeless shelter population.

The governor’s budget reflects no change from the language in past budgets, Mayor Cuomo’s spokesperson Matt Wing told the Journal, because the city has not submitted any new proposals for a rent-subsidy program. “We will be working with the new administration in the months ahead,” he said.

During Mayor Bloomberg’s tenure, the population in the city’s homeless shelters exploded by 71 percent to more than 53,000 people, the Journal reported — thanks largely to the loss of state funding for Advantage, New York City’s last rental-subsidy program, in 2011. After the state stopped chipping in, the city lost federal funding as well.

The kerfuffle is the second time the two leaders have butted heads this week. Another pet project of de Blasio’s, which would raise taxes on New Yorkers making more than $500,000 per year and use those funds to finance pre-kindergarten and after-school programs, was also shot down by Cuomo. [WSJ]Julie Strickland

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