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Mayor Eric Adams on Sunday hinted at opening more homeless shelters throughout the Big Apple — as he took aim at some “sacred cow” neighborhoods whose residents have waged war against the facilities.
Adams called out areas that haven’t “had their share of shelters” though stopped short of offering any specifics for how to get vagrants off the streets amid the city’s surging crisis.
“Homelessness is a New York problem,” Hizzoner said at a press conference at Jacobi Hospital in the Bronx.
“We can’t have any sacred cows where some communities believe they are not going to shoulder the burden. That is not going to happen.”
Adams made the comments after being asked about a proposal to have three homeless shelters — which would house up to 540 single adult men — set up in the Bronx’s Community Board 11 region.
“I’m going to look at this particular issue. Find out what’s happening. I’m going to communicate with [Department of Homeless Services] and see exactly what’s taking place here,” the mayor insisted.
“I don’t want to overburden certain communities with shelters,” he added.
“You know, I lived on the verge of homelessness as a child. I know what it is not to have a home, I know that. And I also know what it is to oversaturate certain communities with shelters.”
While Adams didn’t name the specific neighborhoods that he says have failed to share the burden, outraged residents have protested planned shelters in their neighborhood in recent years.
Upper East Side residents rallied last year in a bid to stop an 88-bed “safe haven” shelter from being run on East 91st St because they argued it would be too close to schools and recreation sites.
And protests were held on the Upper West Side a year earlier when Mayor Bill de Blasio pushed to relocate homeless residents from an emergency hotel shelter to a permanent facility in their neighborhood amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We all have to shoulder the burden of our fellow New Yorkers, because that homeless person is someone’s son or daughter, family member and they need the support,” Adams said.
“Now I would love for my shelters to be in communities that are stable, so that they can have access to transportation, access to medical health, access to employment, access to good healthy food. We can’t overburden communities.
“We need to make sure that we have homeless shelters throughout this entire city, but we also want to cycle out of congregate shelters. We want to move in another direction. But I cannot say it enough, we need help to get this done right.”
Adams’ push comes amid a spate of attacks — some deadly — carried out by mentally ill homeless men on the streets and in subway stations.
His comments on the homeless shelters came right before he officially announced his picks to head the city’s housing department on Sunday afternoon.
Jessica Katz was named chief housing officer and Adolfo Carrion Jr. was appointed commissioner of New York City’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development.