ALBANY, N.Y. (WIVB) – Last Tuesday New York City Mayor Eric Adams expanded the use of city-funded housing vouchers for homeless New Yorkers outside the five boroughs.
More than 116,000 asylum seekers have arrived in New York City asking for shelter since last spring, and with these new reforms people could have the ability to leave the city’s shelter system and move to affordable housing elsewhere in the state.
“It is going to have a huge impact and it’s going to get people out of the hotels and into jobs and then working in apartments and paying for their apartments,” Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said.
While counties recognize the situation that New York City and its shelter program are facing, local politicians say there are still concerns here at home.
Erie County’s Republican Minority Caucus says the county has the seventh highest poverty rate in America at 30.1%.
“It’s going to put an actual a hurt to our social services, a very big strain. So that’s where our concern is,” said Frank Todaro, District 8 Legislator.
This proposed change is causing Erie County Republicans to call for a state of emergency, which would stop local landlords from accepting the vouchers from about 60,000 remaining migrants in New York City.
Todaro says this would keep them from becoming the responsibility of Erie County Social Services and taxpayers.
“We have to stop the influx of more people. It is sad that they’re using the humans that are already seeking help in New York City and just giving them a reason to come to Buffalo and open up more beds and more units for New York City. Since they did state they want another 10,000 migrants to go into New York City and they need the room for it,” Todaro continued.
While Governor Kathy Hochul praised the city’s new policy, she says that statewide housing shortages may make it difficult for those with vouchers to find available apartments — a concern shared by the County Executive.
“Right now, we have housing issues in our community. They can say we’re going to give you rent vouchers, but there’s just not that much available in space anyway. So, it’s not like it’s going to make a difference. They couldn’t put thousands of people in our community because there’s no room for them. So, I’m not as worried about it as probably others are,” concluded Poloncarz.