New York City’s chief housing officer will leave in July amid a surge in illegal immigrants coming to the city, she told the Gothamist in a recent interview.
Jessica Katz has overseen the housing of an influx of migrants coming to the city, according to the Gothamist. New York City has had to put migrants in multiple hotels as the city has housed 42,000 in shelters and expects more to come with the recent end of Title 42, a Trump-era expulsion order. (RELATED: Biden Admin Claims The US Doesn’t Give ‘Financial Support’ To Illegal Migrants. There’s Just One Problem)
Shelters have become so overwhelmed that Riker’s Island and airplane hangars at John F. Kennedy International Airport have been weighed as potential migrant shelter spaces. More than 7,000 migrants have come on buses from Texas as part of Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s effort to transport them to the sanctuary city.
Democratic New York City Mayor Eric Adams later began busing migrants out of the area upstate and to the suburbs. Adams has also pleaded with private property owners to house migrants.
“These jobs are a real sprint,” Katz told the Gothamist of leaving her post. “I kind of made a list for myself of what I wanted to do when I started this, and I’ve been working my way down that list, so I think now’s the right time.”
Katz was the first person tapped for her role, which was founded in January 2022 to coordinate housing responsibilities across multiple agencies, according to the Gothamist.
“We’d always sort of treated the causes of homelessness and the solutions to homelessness as being two totally separate things,” she said. “My advice is to remember that homelessness is a housing problem.”
“I think for a generation or more, we’ve looked for every other reason why homelessness exists or why it’s so persistent in our city and in a way that almost seems to blame the people who have become homeless,” Katz said.
Adams recently attempted to overhaul the city’s “right to shelter” law, which dictates that the city is required to house the homeless.
Thank you, Linda for saying it so clearly. We need ‘Right to Shelter.’ But it must be updated for this time and this crisis.
Doing so is In the best interest of asylum seekers, unhoused individuals, and all New Yorkers. https://t.co/AaXRCb3bh0
— Mayor Eric Adams (@NYCMayor) May 25, 2023
“That is a huge shift in the homelessness landscape that I don’t think the homelessness universe has ever had to grapple with before,” Katz said.
“These jobs are frustrating. Sometimes if you’re not frustrated, you’re not doing it right,” she said. “But I think we worked really hard during the transition to figure out a structure that would let somebody focus specifically on housing, have enough breadth to cover everything that needed to be covered, but also not have a portfolio so big that you couldn’t take a deep dive into what are really complex issues.”
Adams praised Katz’s work for the city, according to the Gothamist.
“Jessica worked every day to ensure that New Yorkers were at the center of our housing policies, whether an individual experiencing homelessness, a family living in NYCHA, or a lifelong New Yorker struggling to stay in the neighborhood they love,” Adams said.
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