NYC housing chief resigns amid homeless crisis

The architect of Mayor Eric Adams’ housing plan is resigning, the mayor’s office confirmed Wednesday, a key departure that underscores the government’s struggles to address the city’s growing affordability and homelessness crisis .

The official, Mr. Adams’ chief housing officer, Jessica Katz, is leaving as the mayor struggles to Responding to the Housing Crisis In cities, homeless shelters are seeing record numbers of people.

Mr. Adams has been criticized for focusing too narrowly on providing emergency housing rather than addressing structural problems to make room for the tens of thousands of asylum seekers and city residents who came to the city last year and experienced homelessness.

But persistent confusion within the government over who was in charge of handling the city’s growing housing problem was one reason for Ms. Katz’s resignation, according to a person familiar with Katz’s thinking.

Another factor in Ms. Katz’s decision was the mayor’s decision Tuesday, another person familiar with her thinking said. opposition to legislation that would increase The number of people who can get housing vouchers, the council’s push to reduce the homeless population and help those facing eviction.

The committee will vote on a series of bills that, among other things, would eliminate the requirement that people stay in a homeless shelter for 90 days before qualifying for city-funded housing vouchers. The mayor can lift the 90-day asylum rule on his own motion, but he refuses to do so.

Council members who supported the legislation argued it would help free up space in the shelter system and move people into stable, permanent housing more quickly. The mayor argued that would cost the city billions of dollars at a time of financial difficulty.

The first is that Ms. Katz is leaving According to news site Gothamist. It is unclear when her last day on the job was.

Mr Adams praised Ms Katz in a statement on Wednesday.

“Jessica works every day to ensure that New Yorkers are at the center of our housing policies, whether it’s individuals experiencing homelessness, families living in NYCHA, or New Yorkers who have spent their lives trying to stay in the communities they love,” said the mayor.

Since Katz’s appointment in January 2022, questions have persisted about how much power the mayor has actually given Katz. Housing advocates noted that, unlike his counterparts in previous administrations, Katz did not hold the title of “deputy mayor.” Decisions on major housing issues, such as redeveloping neighborhoods, appear to be made by other city officials.

Job Openings in the Housing Department and Other City Agencies Slowing the city’s ability to subsidize new housing Affordable housing means the city’s housing problems may worsen.Administration also failed to influence lawmakers in albany Pass bills that would have allowed for more construction in the city and its suburbs.

Ms. Katz focuses on solving Deterioration of public housing conditions and Dysfunction and bureaucracy Many people have encountered it while trying to avoid homelessness. In recent months, she has also focused on finding a place for immigrants.

News of her resignation comes as the mayor begins pushing Repealing the City’s Asylum Guarantees, which requires cities to provide shelter to anyone who needs it. As of early May, there were more than 78,000 people in the city’s main shelter system, which the Adams government said was overwhelmed.

Before joining government, Ms. Katz was executive director of the Citizens Housing and Planning Council, a nonprofit research organization. She also worked in the administrations of Mr. Adams’ most immediate predecessors, Mayors Bill de Blasio and Michael R. Bloomberg.

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