Memo to Eric Adams: If elected mayor, ditch homeless czar Steven BanksAugust 3, 2021
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Democratic mayoral nominee Eric Adams has floated the unsavory idea that should he win come November, he’ll likely keep some of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s City Hall picks in place — including homeless czar Steven Banks, who he said has done “amazing things.”
God help us. As head of the Department of Homeless Services, Banks has been a disaster. His budget has ballooned by the billions, with little to show for it except an ever-more-prominent street homeless population.
Oh, and a long series of scandals involving corrupt nonprofit shelter providers and terrible shelter conditions. An April survey of street homeless found that 77 percent had stayed in the shelter system at one point but won’t go back, citing safety reasons as well as city social workers’ overall incompetence.
Meanwhile, the shelter population has soared, even as Banks has muscled new shelters into communities where they’re just not appropriate.
Banks’ biggest and most fundamental problem, however, is his refusal to take a tough-love approach. At all.
He spent his legal career fighting for homeless “rights” to occupy public spaces. In government, he’s refused to push for behavioral change; the pretense is that the only thing that makes someone homeless is a lack of housing.
If Banks were to stay on, New York City’s homeless horrors would only grow worse — bad as they already are. That will take a severe toll on the city. And on a Mayor Adams’ record.
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