De Blasio Merges All Welfare Agencies

NEW YORK (AP) -

New York City is merging its homeless services and welfare agencies in an effort to better help those sleeping on the city’s streets.

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that Steven Banks, commissioner of the Human Resources Administration, the welfare agency, will run the combined department.

Banks has essentially been running both agencies since the homelessness commissioner resigned in December.

The resignation came amid a surge in homelessness in New York, which became a prickly political problem for de Blasio.

According to statistics released Tuesday, about 58,000 people are currently living in the city’s shelters. That’s up from 53,000 when de Blasio took office in January 2014. Another 3,000 to 4,000 live on the streets.