NYC social services commissioner resigns amid rising homelessness, migrant crisis

NYC social services commissioner resigns amid rising homelessness, migrant crisis

Gary Jenkins, the top of New York Metropolis’s Division of Social Services, is resigning as commissioner Tuesday night time, based on sources aware of his departure however not approved to publicly communicate on the matter.

Jenkins, who was appointed by Mayor Eric Adams final February, is slated to announce his resignation in a tv interview on NY1 Tuesday night, Bob Hardt, the station’s political director posted on Twitter.

A spokesperson for the DSS referred questions on Jenkin’s employment to the mayor’s workplace, which didn’t reply to an e-mail in search of remark. Jenkins didn’t return a name in search of remark.

Jenkins’ year-long tenure main the division, which incorporates the Division of Homeless Services and the Human Sources Administration that oversees a number of public advantages applications, has been marred with turmoil and vital setbacks, together with record-high homelessness, a surge in asylum-seekers coming into the town’s shelters and extreme staffing shortages.

Underneath Jenkins, the DHS shelter inhabitants has surpassed 70,000 individuals, the best quantity for the reason that metropolis started maintaining observe greater than three many years in the past. The quantity rose as tens of 1000’s of asylum seekers arrived within the 5 boroughs since final spring, together with many bussed by Republican governors of southern states with hardline immigration insurance policies.

Because the migrant crisis picked up steam in August, with buses arriving every day to the Port Authority, Jenkins drew warmth for being on trip in Mexico, which Adams defended.

In response to the mayor’s workplace, greater than 42,000 migrants have arrived in New York Metropolis in current months, straining an already beleaguered shelter system. Hundreds of migrants have flooded the shelter system, based on the mayor’s workplace, ensuing within the opening of short-term reduction shelters and resort rooms to deal with the brand new arrivals that’s anticipated to price the town greater than $1 billion this 12 months.

On the identical time, record-high rents and the resumption of evictions following a pandemic-related moratorium compelled extra New Yorkers into homelessness.

In late January, the Adams administration, Jenkins and the Human Sources Administrator Lisa Fitzpatrick have been named as defendants in a category motion lawsuit over delays within the well timed processing of meals stamps, referred to as Supplemental Vitamin Help Program advantages. A critical staffing scarcity at HRA has led to lengthy wait occasions for meals stamp and money help candidates. The state’s Workplace of Short-term and Incapacity Help has declined to offer administrative reduction.

Jenkins beforehand served as HRA administrator underneath former DSS Commissioner Steven Banks. He labored at HRA for greater than 30 years earlier than rising to the highest submit final 12 months. Throughout his tenure, he has continuously referenced his personal expertise with homelessness.

“This work is deeply personal to me,” he testified at a Council listening to final Could. “I experienced homelessness and spent time in a shelter as a child, and so I understand first-hand that our work changes lives and that we have a responsibility to provide our clients with resources that they need to not just survive, but to thrive in our city.”

His tenure as commissioner has been marked by extra controversy following the dismissal of an company spokesperson final 12 months. That spokesperson, Julia Savel, accused Jenkins of overlaying up illegal in a single day stays on the metropolis’s household homeless consumption middle. Savel stated she was fired after alerting the mayor’s workplace to the breach of household shelter legal guidelines, prompting a probe by the town’s Division of Investigation.

The DOI declined to touch upon the investigation Tuesday.

Jenkins has denied wrongdoing and stated Savel was fired for “unprofessional” conduct.

Savel declined to remark Tuesday.

Further reporting by Clayton Guse

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