De Blasio appoints former homeless-services chief Family Court judge

Gilbert Taylor stepped down amid record level of homelessness

Bill de Blasio and Gilbert Taylor
Bill de Blasio and Gilbert Taylor

Mayor Bill de Blasio on Thursday appointed former Commissioner of Homeless Services, Gilbert Taylor, as a Family Court judge.

Taylor quit his post as homeless-services chief almost three months ago as the city struggled to limit the surge in homelessness and the negative press it brought.

The number of people in shelters run by the Department of Homeless Services has increased since de Blasio took office two years ago, and many have said they’d rather live on the streets.

As of Tuesday, about 58,000 people were in the DHS shelter system, the New York Times reported.

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Taylor started his career working as a litigator for the Administration for Children’s Services and appearing in Family Court. Afterwards, he worked at a child welfare agency where he was credited with reducing the amount of children moved to foster care, the Times reported.

De Blasio then named Taylor commissioner of homeless services — families with children comprise the majority of the city’s homeless, according to the Times.

However, despite measures implemented — sheltering people in converted private facilities, for instance — the homelessness crisis persists and the de Blasio administration continues to grapple with the problem. As of December, the administration was renting 1,100 hotel rooms a night to use as emergency shelters. In January, a man was fatally stabbed at an East Harlem shelter, raising concerns about shelter safety.

In September, Lilliam Barrios-Paoli resigned as the deputy mayor for health and human services. Barrios-Paoli oversaw the Department of Homeless Services as well as other social services agencies. [NYT]Dusica Sue Malesevic