Governor Cuomo Takes Steps to Address Homelessness

Governor Cuomo Takes Steps to Address Homelessness

Overview

NEW YORK STATE — Governor Cuomo is taking a bold step to address homelessness. Governor Cuomo signed an executive order Sunday requiring homeless shelters in New York to extend their hours and make room for homeless people when the temperature dips below freezing.

“We should not leave people on the streets to freeze. Period. I agree, I believe, we agree almost universally with that edict as a people, as New Yorkers, as a beacon for social justice, said Governor Andrew Cuomo.”

But the idea is being met with questions from officials and homeless advocates.

“If you do get someone who resists going to shelter, what happens then? Is there an arrest? What happens then? The next question is, if you bring a homeless person to a shelter, and it’s full, what supersedes, fire code, or this new executive order? So there’s a lot of questions about how it would be enforced, who would enforce it, and what it means to execute it on the ground, said Michael Hennessy, Open Door Mission Executive Director.”

And the city of Rochester issued a statement, saying:

While we are always concerned about the safety of all of our city’s residents, we will need to more fully understand how to implement the Governor’s order while also taking into account the safety of the police officers who will need to enforce these new provisions.

The head of one shelter said she welcomes the governor’s unprecedented move — as long as it’s implemented with care.

“I’m very delighted that he at least came out with a statement about caring for our homeless. But let us do it with caution, that we don’t force them, but work closely with them, said Sister Grace Miller, House of Mercy. And I hope this gets the social agencies to be more open, more tolerant, more compassionate.”