Remarks Come After Criticism From Cuomo, Lhota Over Homeless In Subway System

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Facing another day of criticism over the homelessness problem Tuesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio admitted he has made mistakes – but said he “wants to do more.”

As CBS2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer reported Tuesday, the latest complaints were prompted by a picture of a vagrant asleep under the seats of a No. 3 train that was published by the New York Post.

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Riders weighed in on the issue Tuesday.

“With the homeless, he could do some improvement,” said Eric Hylton of Crown Heights, Brooklyn. “There’s more homeless on the street, and the subway stations, and the trains than before.”

“I don’t think he’s doing a good job,” said Kasim Shah of Marine Park, Brooklyn. “I see homeless people in the train every night.”

“Well, I think he’s doing as well as anybody could,” a woman said.

“I don’t think he’s doing anything,” another said.

De Blasio defended himself Tuesday.

“There was a misunderstanding,” he said. “Even at times when I’ve had differences with the governor on the MTA issue, I’ve said we want to do more in terms of NYPD.”

De Blasio both took responsibility and fended off attacks from Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman Joe Lhota and Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

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“We need to get the homeless off the trains and out of the subway stations so people feel safe,” Cuomo said Monday. “The NYPD used to do this. They need to do it again.”

Meanwhile, Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch joined the fray, saying the mayor created a climate that police have to clean up.

“Governor Cuomo is absolutely right — nobody should be sleeping in the subway, and New York City police officers play a role in preventing that from happening,” Lynch said. “We wish the rest of our elected leaders would support us in that effort.”

With all the finger pointing, Kramer asked de Blasio how he thinks he’s doing.

“I wonder if you could give yourself a grade on how you’ve handled homelessness,” Kramer said.

“No, I can’t. I don’t do grades,” de Blasio said.

But he did still address his own performance when it comes to the homelessness crisis.

“I wish I had done better at the beginning of the administration in terms of focusing on street homelessness as much as we were focusing on shelter homelessness,” de Blasio said. “My mistake was not addressing both parts of the problem from the very beginning, and not putting it in the form of a bigger plan – and I appreciate why people are frustrated.”

Jon Weinstein, a spokesman for Lhota, said in a statement in response, “The Mayor’s words acknowledging his responsibility speak for themselves.”

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Cuomo’s office did not return calls seeking comment Tuesday.