NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Mayor Bill de Blasio fired back Monday after former Mayor Rudy Giuliani criticized the way he’s dealing with the homeless in New York.
In an op-ed piece in Sunday’s New York Post, Giuliani argued it’s the city’s responsibility to clear the homeless from the streets and find them treatment, shelter and even a job.
Then he took a shot at the current mayor, writing, “The so-called ‘progressive’ view, that people have a right to live on the sidewalk, is not only legally devoid of any merit but is inhumane, indecent and dangerous,” Giuliani wrote.
Giuilani also wrote he successfully removed the vast majority of homeless from the streets with effective solutions.
On Monday, de Blasio responded, saying: “I think he’s delusional. If you think about what Rudy Giuliani did as mayor, homelessness went up 40 percent on his watch. He clearly doesn’t remember the fact that … as he said, he chased and chased people, but he also deprived people of benefits they needed.”
De Blasio said the city is focused on a comprehensive and constructive solution, investing $1 billion over the next four years to get the homeless off the streets, into shelters and help them find permanent housing.
“Our plan is working,” the mayor said. “Fifteen thousand people have been moved out of shelter and into housing.”
The city’s also in the process of cleaning up 21 homeless encampments. Last week, crews cleared out one of them by 125th Street in Harlem, and the crews were back Sunday night, CBS2’s Ilana Gold reported.
De Blasio said all encampments around the city should be gone by the end of the month.
Over Labor Day Weekend, it was impossible to ignore the homeless spread out on the sidewalks and even in a wishing well in Central Park.
One homeless man said he prefers the streets to shelters because they’re safer.
“I got robbed there once and I will never go there again,” he said.
The mayor said the city was taking steps to make shelters safer.
“We’re providing beefed up security in those shelters to people can come here and know they’ll be safe,” de Blasio said.
Crews cleaned up a 125th Street homeless camp last week, but it was occupied again on Sunday.
They Mayor said his major focus was finding the homeless the resources to make sure they don’t return.