Bloomberg on homeless shelters these days

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Briefing: Bloomberg. (Azi Paybarah via flickr)
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Mayor Michael Bloomberg said one of the reasons more people are making use of the city's homeless shelters is that they're more "pleasurable" than they used to be.   

He was speaking relatively, of course, but the word choice wasn't great.

Apparently the disgustingly filthy entry room to the Bellevue Shelter has been tidied somewhat, for example. That still doesn't quite get you anywhere near "pleasurable."

Political critics pounced on the mayor's remark: Public Advocate Bill de Blasio reacted by saying Bloomberg is "living in a fantasy world."

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Reporters did, too: David Seifman's article this morning makes fun of the mayor's suggestion, comparing the "amenities" at homeless shelters to fancy hotels the mayor stays at when he travels. (The ones at the hotels are nicer.)

But one contributing factor to the rise in demand for the services provided at shelters has gotten less attention: a cut in funds from the state.

A recent Times article noted that Bloomberg administration officials said individuals were coming to shelters as fast as the city could open them because of the discontinuation of a program previously subsidized by the state, which helped people on the cusp of becoming homeless.

"The city said last year that it was discontinuing the program because the state was dropping its financial support," the report said.

The city's homeless commissioner said the program had been successful before it ended "abruptly."

Quote

"I am a huge Joe Biden fan."—former Bloomberg aide Kevin Sheekey, in an email to me asking about claims in Glenn Thrush's book that the vice president tried to hire Sheekey.

2012

Cardinal Dolan informed Democrats he was invited to speak at the Republican National Convention weeks ago and offered to speak at their convention, too, and never heard back from them. [Carl Campanile]

Gawker's Bain-document trove, and explanation, helpfully explained further. [Heidi N. Moore]

Washington

The head of D.C.'s water system doesn't like Senator Chuck Schumer's plan to serve Saratoga bottled water at the president's inauguration. [Eric Anderson]

AIG lavished perks on employees while it was 80 percent owned by the government after a major bailout. [Juan Gonzalez]

SD-41

Republican Stephen Saland of Poughkeepsie, who voted to legalize same-sex marriage, has to decide whether to launch a write-in primary on the Conservative line against his opponent. [John Davis]

SD-15

Juan Reyes referred to his Republican primary opponent, City Councilman Eric Ulrich, as "the spoiler" in the race. [Michael Gannon]

SD-10

"State Sen. Shirley Huntley (D-Jamaica) says she’s not worried about the primary challenge she’s facing from City Councilman James Sanders Jr. (D-Laurelton), or the fact that her district was redrawn to include much of the area he now represents." [Peter Mastrosimone]

Sanders was referred to as a "a philosopher and thinker." [AnnMarie Costella]

2013

"Despicable" is how one tabloid editorial page describes the claim that City Council Speaker Christine Quinn contributed to a supermarket employee's death by opposing the Paid Sick Leave bill. [New York Post]

Another tabloid editorial page called the attack on Quinn "obscene." [Daily News]

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio accused Bloomberg of "living in a fantasy world" for suggesting people are staying in the city's homeless shelters because they're more "pleasurable" than they used to be. [Kate Taylor]

Others piled on Bloomberg for the remark. [Michael Howard Saul]

"While the mayor seems to be see homeless kids as a bunch of Eloises on a magical adventure, just how 'pleasurable' homeless shelters are is a matter of opinion." [David Seifman]

City Hall

There's a new quasi-governmental agency that'll oversee tech projects, which have been a blight on Bloomberg's record. [David Halbfinger]

Actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who plays a bike messenger in a new movie, said, "the more bike lanes and the fewer cars in the city, the better it will be." [Page Six]

Brooklyn Democratic County Leader Vito Lopez referred to district leader Lincoln Reslter as "poor little Lincoln" and a "legend in his own mind." [Sumathi Reddy]

Albany

Stricter gun control laws could affect Ilion, NY, where Remington employs about 1,000 people. [Thomas Kaplan]

Former Cuomo aide Steve Cohen: "some reporters confided to me, certain people take pride in knocking out elected officials." [Danny Hakim]

The state's ethics watchdog agency is the latest entity to investigate Assemblywoman Naomi Rivera. [Candice Giove, Jeane Macintosh and Erik Kriss]

From Capital

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand will talk to the Iowa delegation. [Reid Pillifant]

Bill Richardson doesn't joke about Hillary Clinton 2016. [Reid Pillifant]

"Devastating service cuts" will hit the MTA if a recent judge's ruling is upheld, the head of the agency warned. [Dana Rubinstein]

Obama's retrofitting of Bill Clinton is something to behold. [Blake Zeff]

Read "The System," a series of Capital stories on homelessness in New York, if you haven't already. [Steven Boone]

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