New York City homeless shelters now house up to 60,000 people an official city report posted Thursday.
Mayor Bill de Blasio promised to ease the city’s homeless problem when he first ran for office, but the the number of people in city shelters has spiked 18 percent since de Blasio took office in 2014.
De Blasio appointed Steve Banks, Commissioner of the Human Resources Administration (HRA) to head up the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) last April since the last head exited months prior.
Banks had blamed the city’s homeless problem just months before on previous city mayors saying it would take “some time” to fix.
“This is hard work. It’s a problem that we inherited but we are putting in place the programs to address it,” Banks said, to The Daily News back in December. “Other mayors could’ve done things that they didn’t do.”
Howard Wolfson, a former deputy mayor under Michael Bloomberg, took offense to Banks’s comments saying, “After two years in office, it’s been excuses, blame games and finger pointing, and people are sick of it,” said Wolfson, who remains a Bloomberg adviser.
“Everyone in NYC knows the homeless problem has gotten worse in the last two years — except, unfortunately, the guy [Banks] who is supposed to deal with it,” Wolfson said in the statement to the News.
Before de Blasio appointed him, he was the head of Legal Aid Society, where he regularly sued City Hall on behalf of the homeless. The Daily News notes most famous case resulted in mandating that the city house all families looking for shelter, a requirement something that no other city must do.