Emergency Order Blocks Use of NYC Vouchers in Broome County
A new emergency order has been implemented in Broome County, prohibiting the use of NYC housing vouchers within the county.
This order is a result of the State of Emergency declared in May, following the City's attempt to relocate large groups of people to Upstate hotels. Limited housing availability and concerns about tracking individuals participating in the program were the main reasons behind this decision.
Broome County Executive Jason Garnar expressed concerns about New York City's relocation efforts and the lack of communication and planning. He emphasized the limited housing options for Broome County's residents and the strain on local resources due to COVID-19. Garnar stated that the county's limited resources should prioritize its own residents.
The County Executive's Office is working in collaboration with Sheriff Fred Akshar, the County Department of Social Services, and other affected agencies. The Sheriff's Office has been educating local hotels and landlords about the State of Emergency and its associated orders, serving as the lead agency for enforcement.
Sheriff Fred Akshar reaffirmed the commitment to the safety and security of Broome County's residents. He criticized New York City's housing voucher program, citing its potential to increase homelessness and create unsafe situations for local residents. The Sheriff's Office remains dedicated to working with the County Executive and doing everything possible to ensure the community's safety.
The NYC housing vouchers are part of the Family Homelessness & Eviction Prevention Supplement (FHEPS) program, aimed at providing housing assistance to eligible NYC families. However, concerns exist regarding building inspections, tracking of program participants, post-program arrangements, and the provision of additional services outside of New York City.
The FHEPS vouchers, based on the Department of Housing & Urban Development's (HUD) fair market rates, would be worth $904 for a one-bedroom unit in Broome County. This higher amount could disadvantage local residents eligible for housing assistance through Broome County's Department of Social Services. It may result in local families being priced out of their apartments and potentially exacerbating homelessness.