State to withhold funding for 16 NYC homeless shelters

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a new initiative to improve conditions earlier this week

From left: A homeless shelter in New York and Gov. Andrew Cuomo
From left: A homeless shelter in New York and Gov. Andrew Cuomo

The state is withholding funding from some of the city’s homeless shelters due to poor conditions.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo sent a letter to City Hall, the Wall Street Journal reported, saying that 16 shelters needed to be improved before the money could come through. It’s unclear how much money the state will withhold.

“Instead of spending scarce resources to reinspect shelters and issue redundant reports, while citing issues which it knows are already being addressed as an excuse to withhold needed funding, the state should be meeting its own fiscal responsibility to New York City’s homeless families,” Gilbert Taylor, commissioner of the New York City Department of Homeless Services, told the newspaper.

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New York currently has approximately 57,000 people in homeless shelters across the city, the newspaper reported.

Earlier this week, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a new $12.5 million initiative that aims to immediately improve conditions in the city’s shelters. As part of the new intiative, 100 city employees across multiple agencies plan to visit 500 shelters and address the problems they find.

The Department of Investigation released a scathing report about the city’s homeless shelters in March, reporting unsanitary and unsafe conditions including dead vermin, lack of electricity, and rusted staircases. [WSJ]Claire Moses