Adams' housing czar to resign as homelessness crisis worsens: report

A person with bags of belongings sleeps on a 34th Street subway platform on April 28, 2020 in New York City.
A person with bags of belongings sleeps on a 34th Street subway platform on April 28, 2020 in New York City. Photo credit Jeenah Moon/Getty Images

NEW YORK (1010 WINS) — Mayor Eric Adams’ chief housing officer, Jessica Katz, is planning to resign, Gothamist reported Wednesday.

Adams created the position in an attempt to organize and rationalize the handful of city agencies tasked with managing housing and homelessness. Katz was appointed at the start of Adams’ term in January 2022.

It’s not yet clear if the mayor will appoint a new person to the office.

Katz’ resignation comes a day after Adams announced his opposition to a bill from the City Council that would make it easier to access housing vouchers. Supporters in the Council characterize the legislation as an attempt to house New Yorkers and free up much needed shelter space — a lack made more urgent by the arrival of tens of thousands of asylum seekers bussed to New York by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.

The legislation would remove the requirement that homeless people spend 90 days in a shelter before they are eligible for a housing voucher that ameliorates the cost of rent.

Adams has the power to do away with the rule even without input from the Council, but has not done so.

Katz’ resignation is also set against the context of Adams’ historic rollbacks to the Right to Shelter law that mandates the city provide a bed to anyone who needs one in a timely manner.

Adams said the decision to rollback the law was made in response to the arrival of asylum seekers.

The city claims more than 65,000 asylum seekers have arrived in New York City since Abbott started bussing migrants from the southern border to New York City in the summer of 2022.

Adams’ administration has seen a massive increase in homelessness, as housing destabilization brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, the end of a state-wide eviction moratorium and record-high rents have pushed more people onto the street and asylum seekers continue to arrive without the connections and resources necessary to obtain housing in the city.

Featured Image Photo Credit: Jeenah Moon/Getty Images