While appearing on “Inside City Hall” on Tuesday night, Gary Jenkins, the city’s Department of Social Services commissioner who oversees the troubled homeless shelter system, announced his resignation.
The commissioner's move comes as the city is grappling with an affordable housing crisis and influx of asylum seekers that has put pressure on the shelter system.
He told his staff earlier in the day of his impending resignation earlier Tuesday.
“I’ve decided to step down from my position as Commissioner for the Department of Social Services and explore other opportunities that have been presented to me," Jenkins said on "Inside City Hall."
Jenkins' final day is March 3 and leaves the embattled department after only serving for a year. Mayor Eric Adams first appointed Jenkins in January of 2022.
His portfolio includes overseeing the Department of Homeless Services and the city’s Human Resources Administration.
“There’s no discord, there’s no running away. This was something that was already planned," Jenkins said. “I’m just going to take some time off. Decompress and spend some quality time with my family and get back into this in the month of April.”
Adams recently said that going into his first year in office, the city’s shelter system had about 45,000 New Yorkers in its care. Meanwhile, close to 40,000 migrants have come to New York from the southern border with over 26,000 asylum seekers still in the city’s care.
In a statement on Tuesday, the mayor thanked the commissioner for his nearly 40-year career in public service including helping an estimated 1,100 unsheltered New Yorkers under the Mayor’s subway safety plan.
"Commissioner Jenkins also brought his own experience living in a shelter as a child to the job, a unique understanding of the struggles families in shelters face and a steadfast commitment to treating all of our clients with dignity and care. I'm incredibly grateful to Gary for his decades of service and wish him the very best in his next chapter,” added the Mayor.
While in office, Jenkins faced a series of scandals including leaving the city in August amid the start of the migrant crisis.
Jenkins also faced scrutiny after firing a spokeswoman over an alleged cover-up of department violations related to migrant families sleeping at an intake shelter in The Bronx. The incident violated the city’s right to shelter law.
Adams defended Jenkins in both instances, at one point saying that he had the “utmost confidence” in the commissioner.
Jenkins previously served as first deputy commissioner of HRA where he started his career holding numerous positions.
Molly Park, who currently serves as First Depty Commissioner of the department will become acting commissioner until an official replacement is confirmed.
Jenkins is the fourth high profile official to leave the administration one year into Adams' tenure following the departures of former chief of staff Frank Carone and First Deputy Mayor Lorraine Grillo, as well as Eric Ulrich, who headed the buildings department and resigned amid illegal gambling allegations.