New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order on Sunday requiring that local municipalities like New York City forcibly take homeless individuals off the street when temperatures dip below the freezing point.
"We’re in a period now of the winter inclement weather. It’s dangerous for homeless people to be on the streets," Cuomo told the New York Daily News
Cuomo added that state laws make it "clear and well-established that the state can take appropriate steps, including involuntary placement, to protect individuals from harming themselves or others."
Under the order, police, state agencies, and social-service agencies are empowered and required to move people into shelters when they refuse.
A spokeswoman for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio seemed to contradict the governor in a statement of response.
"We support the intent of the executive order, but to forcibly remove all homeless individuals in freezing weather, as the governor has ordered, will require him to pass state law," she said.
According to The Wall Street Journal
, "Mr. Cuomo and Mr. de Blasio, both Democrats, have tussled over the homeless issue, with a spokeswoman for Mr. Cuomo saying in November that the mayor couldn’t handle the homeless problem."
"From 2014 to 2015, 17 U.S. states had increases in homelessness. Of those, New York’s homeless population increased by the greatest number over that time, adding 7,660 people," The Journal continued.
There are nearly 90,000 homeless people in New York state. The sheltered homeless population of New York City is around 57,000. There are an estimated 4,000 unsheltered homeless living on the streets, the majority of which are in the city.
De Blasio announced in December a new program for the homeless called Home-Stat, which is aimed at helping the unsheltered homeless.
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