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December 26, 1994
Homeless Advocates blast Rudy's 'charity'

by Susan Rubinowitz
Mayor Giuliani and his wife Donna dished up stuffing and succotash at a Christmas dinner for the homeless yesterday -- but critics said the mayor's policies for the poor are harder to swallow.

Norman Siegel, who frequently represents the homeless as executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, said Giuliani's planned social service cuts don't jibe with his acts of charity.

"He's giving tax breaks for Wall Street, but proposing draconian cuts for the poor on Medicaid," Siegel said at Sheraton New York's exhibition hall, where about 1,500 needy people were feasting on turkey and trimmings, courtesy of the hotel.

George McDonald, who heads The Doe Fund, a homeless aid organization, shared that view.

He noted that Giuliani -- who vows to put welfare recipients to work -- has ordered a one-third cut in city funding for the group's work-training program, a program McDonald claims has "demonstrated proven results."

He's also told city social service agencies they will have to come up with $1.2 billion in cuts to Medicaid and home relief.

Giuliani defended himself, saying his critics don't understand that the budget crisis has to force a change in how the city serves the poor.

"New York City doesn't have to be embarrassed by its contribution in terms of the amount of taxpayer dollars that's devoted to helping people who are suffering," he said. "There is no place in America that devotes more."

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