Mayoral nominee Curtis Sliwa held a campaign rally to allege the de Blasio administration’s “reign of non-transparency” on the homeless crisis would continue under rival Eric Adams and the state’s incoming governor.
The Republican hopeful held a Tuesday night rally to mark the five year anniversary of a successful push by protestors to prevent a Maspeth Holiday Inn Express from being permanently converted into a homeless shelter.
Sliwa — donning his Guardian Angels beret and flanked by an enthusiastic group of working class advocates and politicians who alternatively cheered and jeered while toting colorful anti-de Blasio signs — said Adams’ first order of business with Kathy Hochul was lobbying her to sign a bill that would continue the controversial hotel policy.
“He requested a meeting with the incoming governor to encourage her to sign a state bill that would allow outer borough hotels to be used for mental health clinics,” Sliwa said.
The city is phasing out the hotel program, but a push to open 90 new homeless shelters is ongoing. Sliwa accused homeless czar Steve Banks of not seeking community input and ramming the facilities into outer borough communities that don’t want them.
“When I’m elected mayor this will end. $2.1 billion is spend each year for homeless services. And what do they succeed in doing? Warehousing men women and families. That’s all it is,” Sliwa said.
“You’re in by 10:00 at night, that’s the curfew. You get kicked out by 7:30 (a.m.) to roam the neighborhoods that you’ve been put into, many of whom never came from those neighborhoods. It creates an adversarial situation with your neighbors and those who are now clients of the Department of Homeless Services and it’s led to many, many problems.”
Other speakers accused Democratic officials of making “sweetheart deals” to benefit friends in the hotel industry, while doing a disservice to the city’s 60,000 people without homes, many of whom suffer from substance abuse and mental health problems.
Last month, Adams — who is heavily favored to defeat Sliwa — indicated he may keep Banks on board if he wins in November.
“There’s some commissioners and deputy mayors — you look at the amazing things that Banks has done. I knew him when he was an advocate for the legal services, and he was always an advocate,” the Democratic nominee told PIX 11. “I thought he brought fresh ideas.”
“We’re not looking to just remove everyone,” the current Brooklyn borough president said. “We want to have a real transition of looking at the best talent.”