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NYC Council Passes Bill Increasing Monthly Vouchers For Homeless Individuals, But Mayor Hints He Might Not Sign

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The New York City Council is taking a dramatic step to help homeless families find permanent homes. Mayor Bill de Blasio says the measure is on the right track but hints he might not sign the bill. Homeless advocates think that's because he's got yet another issue with Gov. Andrew Cuomo; CBS2 political reporter Marcia Kramer explains.

Video Transcript

MAURICE DUBOIS: The city council takes a dramatic step to help homeless families and find them permanent homes. Welcome back here at 5:30. I'm Maurice DuBois

JESSICA MOORE: And I'm Jessica Moore. Mayor de Blasio says the measure is right on track, but he hints that he might not sign the bill.

MAURICE DUBOIS: Homeless advocates think that's because he's got yet another issue with Governor Cuomo. CBS2 political reporter, Marcia Kramer explains.

MARCIA KRAMER: For tens of thousands of people living in shelters like these to dream of having their own home and apartment like this was just plain hopeless. Just ask Larita Phelps, a homeless mother of three who has looked at and been rejected at over 50 apartments because the city vouchers were just too low for landlords to accept.

LARITA PHELPS: Incredibly frustrating. It's most people don't realize the stress that comes with it, the emotional trauma. It makes you feel like less than a failure. You feel like you're not doing your job for providing for your children.

MARCIA KRAMER: Larita 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 site Street Easy, the number of available apartments in the city would go from 564 to 72,000.

CHRISTINE QUINN: We believe this legislation will move about 2,700 families out of shelters quickly, as well as saving the city $110 million over five years, because there'll be less people in shelter.

MARCIA KRAMER: Mayor 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.

BILL DE BLASIO: I want to make sure that we do not inadvertently say ro the state of New York, you no longer have any responsibility here, because the big story here is the state of New York has never stepped up and done what it should do on homelessness.

MARCIA KRAMER: Christine Quinn says it's de Blasio fighting with the governor again.

CHRISTINE QUINN: I don't understand why Mayor de Blasio fight with the governor is more important than moving children out of shelter. This is simply shortsighted and panic. He needs to put homeless people ahead of his petty squabble with the governor.

MARCIA KRAMER: Christine Quinn says the legislation will also help to end the city's dependency on homeless hotels like this one. I'm Marcia Kramer, CBS2 News.

MAURICE DUBOIS: The governor's office is yet to respond to a request for comment. If the mayor does veto the bill, the council reportedly plans to override his action.