September 28, 2023
Oneida County Bans New NYC Homeless Rental Vouchers
County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. announced today that Oneida County has issued a Local Emergency Order that bars the acceptance of newly-expanded New York City rental vouchers without his authorization.
“This is just a veiled attempt by Mayor Adams to pass New York City’s migrant crisis on to upstate counties,” Picente said. “This action is due to the complete failure of federal government policy and lack of leadership in Albany. Oneida County has the same capacity issues as New York City and this maneuver to push their homeless into our community would not only ravage our ability to serve our people in need, but would devastate the affordable housing market and incentivize landlords to displace good local tenants.”
On Sept. 26, 2023, New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced a new change to the City Fighting Homelessness and Eviction Prevention Supplement (CityFHEPS) rental assistance program that would provide five years of rental payments to homeless people who agree to relocate to upstate New York and Long Island. Under the new plan, New York City also divests itself of the obligation to pay for social services, educational services and all other support for anyone who is relocated under the expanded voucher payment program.
Oneida County’s emergency order prohibits the acceptance of CityFHEPS rental or other voucher by any person, business or other entity by lease agreement or otherwise without authorization from the County Executive. In order to apply for such authorization, the applicant must identify the address of the property; the term of the lease or other agreement; the monthly rent amount; the amount proposed by the CityFHEPS voucher and the legal names, birthdates and current addresses (if any) of all the individuals to be housed at the property, as well all records of their requested and administered services.
As condition for granting the authorization, Oneida County must first be given the opportunity within 30 days to provide an equivalent rental voucher to a client of its Department of Family & Community Services who seeks housing or shelter, before seeking to accept a voucher from New York City. New York City must also be required to be a non-tenant party to the lease and pay all of the voucher recipient’s social and educational services and other associated governmental costs.
Those violating the Local Emergency Order will be guilty of a Class B misdemeanor and a civil penalty of $2,000 per day. The order goes into effect immediately and may be renewed every five days.
Oneida County previously issued a Local Emergency Order and Proclamation of Emergency on May 11, 2023 that prohibits migrants and asylum seekers from being transported into Oneida County and prohibits any shelter, hotel, motel, campground, short-term rentals or owners of multiple dwellings from housing them without County Executive consent. Those orders have been renewed every five days and 30 days respectively.
New York City challenged that order, but the State Supreme Court determined that the City failed to select a proper venue for the lawsuit and ordered that the action be severed and transferred to Oneida County. With the same decision also being rendered for similar emergency orders in other counties, New York City dropped the lawsuit.