Oneida County in upstate New York is pushing back against a decision by Mayor Eric Adams to extend the usage of housing vouchers for NYC’s homeless population to areas beyond the city’s five boroughs.
Adams devised this strategy to alleviate some of the pressure on the city’s overwhelmed shelter system, especially given the continuous influx of migrants arriving from the southern border.
However, Oneida County’s Executive, Anthony Picente, retaliated with an emergency directive, asserting that these vouchers would not be accepted in Oneida unless he permitted it and only after local residents in need had priority.
Picente said, “This is just a veiled attempt by Mayor Adams to pass New York City’s migrant crisis on to upstate counties. This action is due to the complete failure of federal government policy and lack of leadership in Albany.”
He emphasized that Oneida County faces similar capacity challenges as New York City and voiced concerns about potential repercussions on the local housing market and the risk of displacing current tenants.
Previously, upstate counties had resisted attempts by Adams to relocate asylum seekers by transporting them to other New York regions.
Mayor Adams has unsuccessfully sought Governor Kathy Hochul’s assistance in relocating some of the 110,000 migrants who have arrived in New York City since the spring of 2022 to counties outside the city.
Last week, Adams proposed relocating some of NYC’s homeless to other areas to alleviate the city’s strained shelter system, currently housing over 60,000 migrants.
In September, he said, “We hope our partners across the state will greet these longtime New Yorkers with open arms and good job opportunities.”
The mayor added, “These reforms will give longtime New Yorkers the ability to move out of our city’s shelter system to other parts of the state with more affordable housing options.”
Picente’s recent order gives Oneida the authority to decline NYC housing vouchers.
Furthermore, the county has been granted a 30-day window to allocate any available rental spaces to its residents first. Non-compliance with this order might attract a daily fine of up to $2,000.
In May, Oneida forbade the entry of migrants and asylum seekers and banned the provision of accommodation to them.