ALBANY – A Queens state assemblyman Thursday tore into Gov. Cuomo for his office’s criticism that Mayor de Blasio can’t handle the city’s homeless situation.
Assembly Social Services Committee Chairman Andrew Hevesi ripped Cuomo for “drastically reducing” the state’s share of funding for homelessness and poverty and threatening to eliminate funds for shelters this summer.
“If this is what Gov. Cuomo has in mind when he talks about providing management expertise, thank you-but no thank you,” Hevesi said.
Cuomo spokesman Richard Azzopardi defended the governor’s record on homelessness. Hevesi, he said, “has no idea what he’s talking about.”
HEVESI AND NORTZ: THERE’S A WAY TO CURB HOMELESSNESS
As attorney general, Cuomo jailed Hevesi’s father, former state Controller Alan Hevesi, over his role in a massive pension fund pay-to-play scandal.
In hitting back at Hevesi’s criticisms, Azzopardi brought up the assemblyman’s father.
He said criticizing the governor “may make (Andrew) Hevesi popular at Sunday dinner with dad, but it shows he has no idea what he’s talking about.”
Hevesi refused to take the bait.
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A spokesman for Cuomo says Hevesi “has no idea what he’s talking about.”
“My criticism of the governor has always been and will continue to be about policy and substance,” he said.
Like de Blasio, Hevesi criticized Cuomo for cutting funding in 2011 to a city rental subsidy program that he says has led to an increase in homelessness.
He also hit Cuomo for threatening to withhold state
funds for city homeless shelters and for cutting funds for other programs.
And he reiterated his call for Cuomo to use more of the legal settlement money the state has received to fund supportive housing programs.
“Governor Andrew Cuomo should not attempt to distract, spin, or avoid fulfilling his responsibility to match Mayor de Blasio’s commitment to supportive housing,” Hevesi said.
Azzopardi said while the state cut the $68 million rental subsidy program Hevesi referenced, it is spending $70 million this year on a separate similar program.
He said Cuomo, who created a non-profit organization to help the homeless and served as President Bill Clinton’s housing secretary, “is widely recognized as a national expert on homelessness on the city and federal level.”