The Commissioner of the Department of Social Services, Gary Jenkins was afforded an opportunity during an exclusive CBS interview with Marcia Kramer to address the matter of a large number of migrants that are making their way to New York City from the State of Texas. The desperate migrants are bussed from Texas to a city that is obliged to provide shelter to those who seek it. An estimated 6,000 immigrants have arrived in the city with absolutely nowhere to go. This situation has exacerbated the already difficult challenge of catering to the thousands of homeless people in New York, more so because the city was not prepared for such a situation.
While the situation is challenging, Jenkins has taken steps to assist the migrants as much as possible. According to Jenkins, the city has managed to get 13 hotels opened that will provide accommodation to those that need it. Jenkins also said that an effort would be made to train the migrants for employment as well as enroll their children in school. Jenkins also took this chance to criticize the manner in which the migrants were being treated and transported. “This was unprecedented. This was not planned at all. We did not know that the governor, you know, Governor Abbott, was going to start, you know, start shipping people, which is so cruel, to New York City,” Jenkins said. “They’re getting off the bus dehydrated. Some need medical attention … Imagine traveling from Texas on a bus with limited resources, and they’re coming to New York City, getting off that bus with nothing,” he added.
Jenkins also had the opportunity to address the matter regarding the alleged cover-up of families that spent the night in a Prevention Assistance and Temporary Housing (PATH) office and the subsequent firing of department press aide, Julia Savel, who publicized the matter. The entire matter regarding the families sleeping in the PATH offices is currently being investigated by the Department of Investigation. Jenkins admitted that his department did violate the law by keeping the four families in the PATH offices overnight. “We, unfortunately, fell down and did not meet our legal mandate,” Jenkins said in the interview with CBS. He however denies Savel’s accusation that he intended on covering the incident up. “It’s false. That is a false allegation,” Jenkins said. “Within an hour, I let the deputy mayor (Ann Williams-Isom) know that we had four families at PATH that were not placed by 4 a.m. … My personality and my work ethic is not to hide anything.” He also denied that she was fired for speaking out, insisting she was fired for her performances in the workplace. Jenkins claims Savel was fired for well-documented reasons that show she was unprofessional with her colleagues at all levels of the workplace command chain. The timing of Savel’s firing is questionable.
Jenkins has received public support from Mayor Eric Adams. “Let’s be clear, he housed over 5,000 of those who were seeking asylums. He has been navigating the complexities that (are) associated with housing in this city. He has been part of the transit initiative that (resulted in) almost 1,800 people no longer living on our subway system (because they were) placed in Safe Havens,” Adams said at a press conference. “I have the utmost confidence in him. I thank him for the job that he’s doing and that entire team over there. I’m happy he’s part of my team.”