Regarding Jessica Meditz’s article on September 1 (“Sliwa on homeless crisis”), in his interview with this paper’s editorial board, GOP mayoral candidate Curtis Sliwa vowed to close 26 shelters filled with mentally ill and drug-addicted homeless people.
He blamed Human Resources Administration (HRA) Commissioner Steven Banks for forcing homeless shelters “down people’s throats with no transparency or discussion.” Sliwa promised to fire banks if he becomes mayor.
But his opponent Eric Adams has a different view. He told news media that Banks “is
doing amazing things” and hinted that he might retain Banks if he wins. That’s like putting an arsonist in charge of the FDNY.
Before joining the de Blasio administration, Banks spent 33 years with the Legal Aid Society advocating for the homeless. He filed a lawsuit resulting in a milestone 2008 settlement creating a permanent right-to-shelter law for the homeless in New York City.
New York is the only U.S. city that has such a law. During his tenure as mayor, Mike Bloomberg blamed the law for attracting people from all over the country to the city for a free roof over their heads.
He urged its elimination. Our next mayor must do the same and gain support from City Hall and Albany to make it happen. Readers should urge their representatives in the City Council and state legislature to revoke this wasteful law.
Kew Gardens Hills