Mayor Launches Pilot Programs to Tackle Package Theft, Domestic Violence

By: Shenal Tissera

New York City Mayor Eric Adams said he was proud to launch two new pilot programs that looks to improve the everyday life of New Yorkers this week- one to help victims of domestic violence find new homes and another to prevent package theft.

Project Home will provide search assistance for permanent housing to domestic violence survivors with children living in city shelters, the mayor said at his weekly press conference on Tuesday.

“It’s crucial. We’ve heard about it over and over again,” said Adams when talking about domestic violence in the city. “Those who have been ignored are not ignored in this administration and victims of domestic violence is real.”

Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Anne Williams-Isom said the administration wants to expedite exits out of shelter, especially for families with children.

“We’re going to do a random selection of those families and a pretty thorough evaluation so that we can make sure we have the information that we need, if and when we want to replicate it,” she said.

The most recent data showed that reported cases of domestic violence have been increasing since the pandemic with a peak in 2022 according to the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Service.

The pilot program will include 100 randomly chosen families to be connected with “specialized housing navigators” for one year who will help them secure permanent housing using housing vouchers issued under the CityFHEPS program.

It also provides an aftercare coordinator designated to help families after they have secured housing with finances, schooling, medical services and any counseling they may need.

The program in part is being funded by a $300,000 grant supplied by the NYC Fund to End Youth and Family Homelessness. Also, domestic violence victims living in Human Resources Administration Domestic Violence Shelters will now be eligible for supportive and affordable housing units operated by the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and NYC Housing Preservation and Development.

The second pilot program, LockerNYC, aims to combat package theft in the city and cut down on delivery truck trips to ease traffic congestion. The yearlong program offers New Yorkers free and secure lockers for their packages to be delivered and retrieved from instead of their porch or doorstep with 24/7 access.

“90,000 packages are reported stolen or lost in New York City. 90,000,” said Adams. “That’s crime that impacts so many people. You’re waiting for that dress, that gown…and someone takes them off your porch, it disrupts your life.”

The program includes 15 locations across several boroughs and will be available across multiple delivery carriers.

The topic of mayoral control also came up as Governor Kathy Hochul led a last minute push to include an extension for mayoral control over New York City schools, set to expire in June, in state budget negotiations.

In a report released by the New York State Education Department, a majority of both teachers and parents were not in favor of mayoral control, whereas system leaders and school administrators were most likely to speak in favor of the practice.

“We can’t continue to think that we can just have these ideal committees of everybody getting their voice in because we can’t agree. I don’t even agree with myself all the time,” said Adams.

Meanwhile, City Hall reporters asked Adams to clarify his relationship with Hui Qin, a Chinese billionaire who pleaded guilty to funneling straw donations to U.S. politicians, including the mayor. In a previous press conference on March 20, Adams admitted to knowing and meeting Qin, but claimed he was just one of the “thousands upon thousands of people” he interacted with while on the campaign trail.

However, Adams celebrated his 60th birthday at Qin’s penthouse at the Plaza Hotel in 2020 during his tenure as Brooklyn Borough President, according to the Daily News. Vito Pitta, Adams’ campaign compliance lawyer, told the news outlet that the party was not a campaign event and it was for Qin’s ex-wife, Emma Duo Liu, who shares a birthday with the mayor.

“You know how many birthday celebrations I have? People invite me over and they have a cupcake with a candle in the middle of it,” said Adams. “That’s the life of being a candidate and being a mayor. You’re everywhere…it’s easy to look and find out that someone did something wrong and then find one of those thousands of pictures you took and say, look, you said hello to his daughter. This is the life.”

Brooklyn federal prosecutors made clear all of the campaigns Qin illegally donated to weren’t aware of his actions.

Liu served on Adams’ Asian Affairs Advisory Council led by Winnie Greco who had her two homes in the Bronx raided by the FBI in February.

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