NYC social service head Gary Jenkins withheld info from Mayor Adams over homeless shelter trouble
Mayor Eric Adams’ Commissioner of the New York City Department of Social Service Gary Jenkins stunningly withheld key information from him about migrants sleeping on the floor at a city intake shelter, according to sources and texts obtained by The Post.
The revelation about the omission comes as the agency’s chief public information officer, Julia Savel, was fired after complaining internally that Jenkins was withholding the information from Adams and the public, the sources said.
Having people in the city’s care sleep at an intake center is against the law, stemming from a 2008 court settlement between the city and Legal Aid, which represents the homeless population staying in shelters.
Savel was notified Friday her employment would be terminated immediately.
According to texts and sources, first reported by NBC 4 and confirmed by The Post Wednesday, it shows Savel attempted to shine light on the crowded conditions within the city’s homeless shelters, in contrast with Jenkins’ wishes.
In one text Savel sent City Hall Deputy Press Secretary Kate Smart on July 24, she said, “i just can’t work for a commish who is ok with covering up something illegal.”
“I don’t have many dealbreakers but what happened last def week was,” she also texted that day.
Department of Social Services leaders were told families were forced to stay overnight at an intake office in the Bronx on July 18, but didn’t know there was a legal obligation until later, City Hall said
Adams was not told about the legal obligation until two days later on Wednesday evening even though Jenkins knew Monday, according to a source.
In a July text from Savel to Smart, she wrote “Gary was trying to not tell city hall that we broke the law. I got yelled at for telling you. I’ve known since Monday.”
She additionally texted, “He didn’t want anyone to know and didn’t think it would get out.”
A source told The Post that Jenkins “said wait to tell Legal Aid.”
“He was trying to keep it from City Hall,” the source said of Jenkins.
Social Services in a statement to The Post said staff “quickly worked to examine the situation on the ground to ensure that we were accurately reporting the facts to our stakeholders” after officials “recognized the formidable pressures that were being placed on our shelter system that led to our inability to meet our mandate for only one night.”
City Hall in a statement said the city strives “every day to meet the mandate to shelter those in need of housing in our city.”
“Last month, we confirmed that we did not meet that mandate for a handful of families by the required time on one evening. Once we realized all of our legal obligations, we informed the proper parties,” Press Secretary Fabien Levy said in a statement.
“To make slanderous accusations when we have spent nearly three months providing shelter to almost 5,000 asylum seekers, in addition to thousands of other New Yorkers, who have entered our shelter system is not only disappointing but a slap in the face to the thousands of DSS employees who work diligently every day to support those most in need.”