Public Defender Attacks New NY Mayor’s Homeless Tactics, Misuse of Budget $$, Especially for Police

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Photo by Luca Bravo on Unsplash

By Jaanvi Kaur 

NEW YORK, NY – New York Public Defender Olayemi Olurin Monday criticized New York City’s mayor, Eric Adams, for his “war on homeless,” and his strengthening of the New York Police Dept. 

 

A former NYPD officer, Adams began his term as New York City’s mayor in January, and since, according to Olurin in an interview of “The Hill,” initiated a war on the homeless, masking it as being “tough on crime.”

 

“He added 1,000 more cops to New York City subways, to remove homeless New Yorkers and force them back on to the streets. Once successfully forced back on to the streets, he then began tearing down the encampments they live in all over the city,” Olurin charged, who said the homeless were left without their clothing and supplies and weren’t accommodated for housing. 

 

Mayor Adams proposed a $615 million cut to the department of homeless services, Olurin said, adding during his term he has arrested homeless people and those that advocated for them. At the same time, he pushed for a $200 million budget increase in the NYPD force, a budget which already has 35,000 officers and a budget of $10.4 billion. 
Olurin claimed Adams has failed to address multiple shootings by NYPD’s officers and more than 20 deaths at Rikers Island in the last year, failed to deliver on several campaign promises, and made cuts to educating, housing and parks. 

 

Homelessness has always been a constant in New York City, one of the most expensive cities to live in, admits Olurin, who stated “people end up homeless in New York City because the cost of living is astronomical. Reportedly there are more than 80,000 homeless New Yorkers. Nearly one in every 106 New Yorkers is homeless and in 2022 there were 48,524 homeless people in New York City.”

 

But Olurin pointed out Adams’ budget plan allows only a meager $2.5 billion plan for affordable and public housing, when Adams, according to Olurin, promised during his campaign to give $4 billion to affordable and public housing. 

 

Mayor Adams cut the budget for an education system that was already struggling by 215 million dollars, amounting to a 1 billion dollar loss in their budget. He states it was not a “cut” but rather due to the fact that there was a decrease in enrollment numbers. Advocates against the cut argued that these cuts would increase layoffs and decrease educational programs. 

 

“The local chapter of the United Federation of Teachers at M.S. 839 in Brooklyn issued a statement that if its budget was cut by hundreds of thousands of dollars and that many of their staff members wouldn’t be able to return because of the reduction in funding, class sizes will increase while art programs and sports and enrichment programming will be gutted,” said Olurin. 

 

While education, housing, and parks were cut, there was a $90 million dollar increase in the NYPD, notes Olurin, which, Olurin said, already has $10.4 billion in the budget.

“Democrats have been praising Adams as the future of the party. The message that the Democrats hold such as being ‘tough on crime’ and ‘getting things done was why they found themselves in support of Adams who would also find himself appealing to voters across different racial, economic and educational demographics. However, he may find himself struggling to get votes for a second term,” said Olurin.

 

According to Business Insider, Adams’ approval ratings have fallen to 29 percent, with a majority of New York City residents stating that they do not like the direction the city is going in. 

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About The Author

Jaanvi is a first year undergraduate student at UC Berkeley majoring in Legal Studies and minoring in Human Rights. She plans to graduate Spring 2025 and is interested in human rights law and attending law school.

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