De Blasio to meet with homelessness activists after backlash over gym confrontation

De Blasio to meet with homelessness activists after backlash over gym confrontation
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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio will meet with members of a homelessness advocacy group after he faced backlash for dismissing an activist who confronted him at the gym.

De Blasio, who has vowed to address homelessness in New York City, was approached by 72-year-old homeless activist Nathylin Flowers Adesegun while working out at the Brooklyn YMCA, according to multiple reports.

“I’m not doing this here. I’m in the middle of a workout,” de Blasio said, according to video footage of the encounter posted to YouTube.

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In the video, Flowers Adesegun, a member of grassroots group Vocal-NY, approaches de Blasio and confronts him about affordable housing in the city.

“Out of the 300,000 units in your affordable housing program, only 5 percent will go to housing the homeless,” she says, as de Blasio shakes her hand.

De Blasio then walks away from Flowers Adesegun and his bodyguard steps in between them, as other activists from Vocal-NY shout at him: “We need housing for homeless New Yorkers!”

De Blasio has now invited the activists from Vocal-NY to City Hall for a meeting, according to The New York Times.

Vocal-NY is asking de Blasio to double the number of units available for homeless people in affordable housing apartments.

Eric Phillips, spokesman for de Blasio, told The New York Times that the gym is “not the right venue” for political discussions.

“People working out at the gym shouldn’t be worried they will be recorded in highly publicized, videotaped political confrontations every morning,” he said.

This is not the first time de Blasio has been confronted at the gym. In June 2017, the mayor was approached in the middle of a yoga session over his plan to close Rikers Island prison.