MTA Interim Transit President Sarah Feinberg lit into homeless advocates on Sunday, accusing them of defending the status quo of unhoused individuals sleeping on trains and platforms.
“The homeless advocates, the groups that have devoted their time and their resources and their advocacy skills to helping the homeless have sort of decided that the subway is a reasonable place for folks to live,” Feinberg charged during an interview on WABC radio’s “Cats Roundtable.”
“The answer should never be that someone lives on a bench or someone lives in a tunnel,” she said. “It boggles the mind that there are groups out there that have decided that this is an acceptable solution for these folks.”
Feinberg’s comments echoed those of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who last week pointed the finger at Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration for turning the subways into a rolling homeless shelter.
“Where did we get to this point where homeless are supposed to be sleeping on subways?” Cuomo said during one of his multiple rants last week on the conditions underground.
“I reject this whole notion of people who say, ‘We should let the homeless live on subways, and we should let them live in subway stations, and we should let them sleep on benches. That’s our default homeless system,” the governor said.
Feinberg noted that many of the homeless individuals approached by social service workers on the subways refuse to go into city-run shelters out of concern for their safety.
“We can’t be that city where we’ve said, you know, we don’t have a housing solution for you, but there is an underground system, so why don’t you try living there,” she told host John Catsimatidis. “The transit system is not a safe place to live.”
“It’s the equivalent of living on the median of a highway, right? We’ve got trains moving at all times. It’s exceedingly dangerous.”