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Forgotten Families: Instead Of Faulting Flawed Program, De Blasio Slams Newark For Suing NYC

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Mayor Bill de Blasio delivered a stunning attack Thursday on the New Jersey mayor suing to stop New York City from dumping homeless families in decrepit apartments across the river.

The fiery comments came even as his own Department of Investigation issued a blistering report about how the city treated the forgotten families CBS2 has been reporting on for nearly a year.

Blinders were apparently firmly in place for city officials – ignoring things like a mice infested, mold covered home with no heat in Newark where the city parked Brooklyn resident Julie Rodriguez and her young family last winter.

De Blasio offered the "bah humbug" defense to a suit filed by Newark and being considered by Elizabeth and other locales to stop New York City from dumping its homeless families in uninhabitable buildings.

"This season of the year especially I find this extraordinary that they decide to sue the city of New York to stop working poor from getting housing in the middle of the holiday season," de Blasio said.

This comes as de Blasio's own Department of Investigation issued a scathing report on the mayor's Special One Time Assistance program, SOTA.

MORE: Forgotten Families: Department Of Investigation Finds 'Multiple Flaws' With SOTA Program

The report found numerous deficiencies including:

  • City inspectors not properly trained to detect health and safety hazards.
  • Inspectors who claimed they actually inspected units when they didn't.

"Sometimes leading to DHS clients' placement in units without valid occupancy certifications, without heat, and with insect and vermin infestations," the DOI report stated.

De Blasio declined to attack his Department of Homeless Services, which ran the program. Instead he saved his venom for the mayor who took him to court over the flawed program.


De Blasio accused Newark Mayor Ras Baraka and others considering legal action of ignoring "American values" and attacking poor people.

"It was really a derogatory lawsuit a statement against working poor people… It's entirely disrespectful to these people who are just trying to make ends meet," de Blasio claimed.

In light of the suit and the DOI report, CBS2's Marcia Kramer asked the mayor "if you should discontinue the SOTA program?"

De Blasio simply answered "no."

"Because we're helping working poor people have a place to live and we're gonna keep doing that and we're gonna address the issues in the lawsuit," the mayor added.

WATCH: Can New York City's SOTA Program For Homeless Families Be Fixed?

A spokesman Baraka said he would have no comment.

Elizabeth Mayor Chris Bollwage's spokesperson had much to say about de Blasio's "bah humbug" defense.

"If New Jersey is 'not charitable during the holiday season' please remind New York City that charity begins at home – New York City has forgotten that message," the spokesperson said.

The mayor of East Orange slammed New York City for having no process in place to track the success of the SOTA program. He said they send people to East Orange and then wash their hands of the situation, adding unless the city's "negligence" stops "New York City will have single-handedly spread their homeless issue all across America."

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