New York City’s Housing Chief Is Resigning Amid a Homelessness Crisis

Author: Yuvi May 24, 2023 New York City's Housing Chief Is Resigning Amid a Homelessness Crisis

The architect of Mayor Eric Adams’s housing plan is resigning, the mayor’s office confirmed on Wednesday, a key departure that underscores the administration’s struggles in dealing with the city’s intensifying affordability and homelessness crisis.

The official, Jessica Katz, Mr. Adams’s chief housing officer, is leaving as the mayor struggles to respond to a housing crisis in the city and as the homeless shelter population reaches record levels.

Tens of thousands of asylum seekers have come to the city over the last year, and Mr. Adams has faced criticism for focusing too narrowly on providing emergency housing and not addressing structural issues that could free up shelter space for both migrants and for city residents experiencing homelessness.

But there has been confusion within the administration about who was in charge of dealing with the city’s mounting housing problems, one of the reasons Ms. Katz is stepping down, according to a person familiar with her thinking.

Another factor in Ms. Katz’s decision, another person familiar with her thinking said, was the mayor’s decision on Tuesday to oppose legislation that would increase the number of people who can access housing vouchers, a push by the City Council to reduce the homeless population and help people facing eviction.

The Council is set to vote on a set of bills that would, among other things, remove a requirement that people stay in homeless shelters for 90 days before they’re eligible for city-funded housing vouchers. The mayor could eliminate the 90-day shelter rule on his own but has declined to do so.

The Council believes the legislation would help free up room in the shelter system and get people more quickly to stable, permanent housing. The mayor has argued it would cost the city billions of dollars at a moment when it is facing financial difficulties.

Questions about how much authority the mayor was actually giving Ms. Katz has swirled since her appointment in January 2022. Housing advocates noted that Ms. Katz did not receive a “deputy mayor” title, a departure from prior administrations. Decisions about major housing issues, such as redeveloping neighborhoods, seemed to flow through other city officials.

Ms. Katz had focused on addressing the deteriorating conditions in public housing and the dysfunction and bureaucracy many people encounter when trying to avoid homelessness. In recent months, she had also focused on finding places for migrants to stay.

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

It was not immediately clear when her last day on the job would be.

Author: Yuvi

My name is Yuvi, I work as Sub Editor at

24 May, 2023, 9:53 pm

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