Author: Joe

Govs. Chris Christie and Jerry Brown urge Mayors to take a tougher tone on the issue of homelessness

Govs. Chris Christie and Jerry Brown urge Mayors to take a tougher tone on the issue of homelessness

Column: Newsom and mayors meet to discuss homelessness. Have we hit rock bottom?

“We’ve just had an incredible showing of community leadership,” said Tom Ridge, the governor of Tennessee, at a Thursday afternoon meeting between New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and a bipartisan group of state and federal mayors to discuss homelessness on the East Coast.

“Homelessness is a crisis,” he added, as the mayors exchanged hugs and high-fives. “Homelessness is a challenge, not just to the homeless but to the broader community. It’s not just a problem on the street, but on the sidewalk.”

The governors of New York, Rhode Island, California and Washington, D.C., all came to the meeting to listen, to learn and to talk.

The governors have been meeting every other week to share information and to coordinate responses to the issue of homelessness.

But the subject is so daunting and uncertain that the mayors have had to come to a consensus about the issue.

In New York, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who will start his third term January 1, has taken a hard-line approach to the issue of homelessness. He has called the situation on the streets of the city “the worst in my memory.” On Wednesday night, he told a group of reporters that “we’re going to change the course of history.”

That’s a tough tone for the head of the nation’s biggest city to take. But it’s also the tone that his counterparts in other cities, including Govs. Chris Christie of New Jersey and Jerry Brown of California, have urged him to adopt.

Mr. Christie, who became governor in November 2010 and faced a similar challenge to fix the state’s budget deficit, has said that New Jersey’s efforts “will be measured by how we do on the homelessness front.” The governor has issued an executive order requiring state agencies, including the Housing and Buildings Authority, to develop plans to address homelessness.

In California, Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, has focused instead on curbing the spread of the H1N1 virus. When he met Thursday with Mayor Teresa R. Yusef of Oakland, who said that her city had

Leave a Comment