UTICA, NY (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY) – Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente announced on Thursday, September 28 a new local emergency order that bars the acceptance of new rental vouchers in a program from New York City.

The program was expanded by New York City Mayor Eric Adams on Tuesday, September 26 and changes the city’s Fighting Homelessness and Eviction Prevention Supplement rental assistance program (CityFHEPS). The program would provide five years of rental payments to homeless people in the city who agree to relocate to Upstate New York or Long Island.  Under the program, New York City would also divest itself of the obligation to pay for all support for anyone who is relocated under the program.

The emergency order issued today would bar people intending to use those vouchers without the authorization of the County Executive.

“This is just a veiled attempt by Mayor Adams to pass New York City’s migrant crisis on to upstate counties,” Picente said in a statement. “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.”  

As a condition of the authorization of the rental vouchers, the county must be given 30 days to provide an equivalent voucher to a client of the Department of Family and Community Services before accepting New York City’s voucher. New York City would then be required to be a non-tenant party to the lease. The city would also be required to pay all of the recipient’s social and educational services, along with any other associated governmental costs.

The order will go into effect immediately and may be renewed every five days. Violation of the order would be a Class B Misdemeanor and incur a civil penalty of $2,000 per day.