NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The New York City Council took a dramatic step to help homeless families find permanent homes, but Mayor Bill de Blasio hinted he might not sign the bill.
The move would put him on a collision course with homeless advocated who claim his reluctance is part of another petty squabble with Gov. Andrew Cuomo.READ MORE: Fiancée Devastated After Father Of 2 Killed In Inwood Robbery: 'To Take A Life Just For His Jewelry Is Just Insane'
As CBS2’s political reporter Marcia Kramer reports, for tens of thousands of people living in shelters, the dream of having their own home, an apartment, was just plain hopeless.
Just ask LaRita Phelps, a homeless mother of three who has look at – and been rejected from – over 50 apartments, because the city vouchers were just too low for landlords to accept.
“Incredibly frustrating. Most people don’t realize the stress that comes with it, the emotional trauma,” Phelps said. “It makes you feel like less than a failure… you feel like you’re not doing your job, providing for your children.”
She felt her prayers were answered when the City Council passed a bill to increase the monthly vouchers from $1,580 to $2,217, which is fair market rent. The move would open up a whole new world of affordable apartments.
According to the real estate website StreetEasy, the number of available apartment in the city would go from 564 to 72,000.
“We believe this legislation will move about 2,700 families out of shelter quickly, as well as saving the city $110 million over five years because there will be less people in shelter,” said Christine Quinn, president and CEO of Women In Need.READ MORE: NYPD Investigating Anti-Muslim Attacks In Queens
De Blasio appeared to throw a monkey wrench into the plan when he hinted he wouldn’t sign the legislation unless the state increases its voucher allotment at the same time.
“I want to make sure that we do not inadvertently say to the state of New York you no longer have any responsibility here. Because the big story here is that the state of New York has never stepped up and done what it should on homelessness,” De Blasio said.
Quinn says it’s de Blasio fighting with the governor again.
“I don’t understand why Mayor de Blasio. His fight with the governor is more important than moving children out of shelter? This is simply shortsighted and petty.” Quinn said. “He needs to put homeless people ahead of his petty squabble with the governor.”
Quinn says the legislation will also help the city end its dependency on homeless hotels.
The governor’s office did not respond to a request for comment.MORE NEWS: 'Diaphragm Law' Banning NYPD Officers From Applying Pressure To Suspect's Torso Struck Down
If the mayor does veto the bill, the council reportedly plans to override his action.