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PR- 166-10
April 19, 2010


Leading Expert on Welfare Reform Will Take Office on April 26th

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today announced the appointment of Seth Diamond to head the City's Department of Homeless Services. As Commissioner, Mr. Diamond will continue to direct the City's efforts to prevent homelessness, and provide short-term emergency shelter and re-housing support for New Yorkers who need it.  He will also look to further enhance support systems for shelter clients who are working, and assist them in making the transition out of shelter to self sufficiency. Commissioner Diamond succeeds Robert Hess who told the Mayor last month he would be accepting a position with The Doe Fund. The Mayor made the announcement in the Blue Room of City Hall, where he was joined by Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Linda I. Gibbs, and outgoing Homeless Services Commissioner Hess.

"Seth's experience directing the nation's largest welfare reform program makes him a great choice to lead the Department of Homeless Services," said Mayor Bloomberg.  "Because of his leadership at the Human Resources Administration, this City is providing more assistance to those who need it, while helping more people become self sufficient than at any other time in recent history.  Seth's contributions have made the lives of thousands of New Yorkers better.  We are fortunate to now have him as the Commissioner for Homeless Services and as one of the next generation of leaders in this administration."

"The New York City Department of Homeless Services oversees one of the most comprehensive shelter systems in the nation," said Deputy Mayor Gibbs.  "It brings real support to homeless New Yorkers when they need it most.  Seth's work at the Human Resources Administration has prepared him to lead New York City's homeless efforts as we look to not just manage homelessness throughout the city, but create viable permanent solutions for families to escape it."

"It has been an honor to serve this administration as the Commissioner for the Department of Homeless Services," said Robert Hess.  "We have made tremendous progress over the years in reducing street homelessness.  And by creating a partnership with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, we've made sure returning veterans have a place to live.  I can't think of a better person to continue these efforts and lead the Department of Homeless Services into the future."

"I am grateful to Mayor Bloomberg for giving me the opportunity to serve the people of the City of New York as Commissioner of the Department of Homeless Services," said Commissioner Seth Diamond. "Government service is a privilege and I am honored to have spent my career fighting for greater opportunities for low income New Yorkers. I look forward to continuing the efforts of the Department of Homeless Services to strongly support those in shelter who take steps to go to work and improve their lives."

Prior to his appointment, Commissioner Diamond served as Executive Deputy Commissioner of the Family Independence Administration at the City's Human Resources Administration. He oversaw the administration of the City's Cash Assistance and Food Stamps programs, which serve nearly two million New Yorkers.  He also directed the nation's largest welfare reform program managing 5,000 employees in a network of centers throughout the city.  During his tenure at the Human Resources Administration, he helped transform the agency by playing a lead role in devising a welfare strategy that prioritizes work and personal responsibility.  Because of these efforts, the City's Human Resources Administration placed more than 75,000 cash assistance clients in jobs last year, in the midst of a national recession.

The City has also benefitted from Commissioner Diamond's recruitment of employers to hire Human Resources Administration clients through the Business Link Program.  This program is at the core of the City's efforts to help cash assistance recipients find jobs. He also played an integral role in further developing the homeless job placement program at the East River Job Center.  Since opening in 2009, the East River Job Center has placed a record 8,378 homeless shelter residents in jobs.

Commissioner Diamond has been a New Yorker since the age of 13 and started his career in public service, working as a Special Councilor to City Council President Andrew Stein. He grew up on Roosevelt Island and attended Stuyvesant High School.  He received his J.D. from New York University School of Law, and his Bachelor of Arts from Brown University.  He lives in Forest Hills with his wife and two children.


Stu Loeser/Jessica Scaperotti   (212) 788-2958

Heather Janik   (Homeless Services)
(212) 361-7973

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