County Executive Ed Day has signed a new Emergency Order in response to the City of New York’s efforts to relocate it’s homeless residents in neighboring municipalities.
Earlier this month, New York City’s Department of Social Services (NYCDSS) announced that it will allow city-issued housing vouchers to be used statewide by its low-income residents to alleviate homelessness the City is incapable of handling. Under the plan CityFHEPS, participants secure 5-year leases paying 30% of the housing and NYCDSS pays the rest. Typically, CityFHEPS provides landlords three months’ rent u pfront plus a 15% bonus, which will artificially inflate housing costs in localities while incentivizing landlords to kick out residents for the higher paying municipality.
“This County already has a housing crisis so extreme that Rockland has been unprecedented lydeputized by the State of New York to take over Building and Fire Code enforcement in the Village of Spring Valley. It is my duty to protect the general welfare of anyone in the County or coming to the County both long term and short term and this new order ensures that,” said County Executive Ed Day. “Lifeboats are a great tool to rescue people, but a lifeboat can only rescue so many. If you put too many people into one eventually it’s going to capsize.”
As a matter of law, each public welfare district is responsible for the assistance and care of any person who resides or is found in its territory, including New York City. While the County does not believe many low-income City of New York residents will be able to secure housing due to the already high cost of housing prices in Rockland, this new order prohibits an outside municipality from operating social services housing without a license granted by the County of Rockland. Landlords also cannot participate in a social services housing program operated by an outside municipality without a license granted by the County.
Licenses granted by the County enable this administration to ensure no current tenants are evicted for the city program, that the housing selected is safe and appropriate, and is contingent on the outside municipality providing funding to offset the additional costs this program will have on residents, localities, schools, and more.
“This order’s sole purpose is mandating good and responsible government that supports current and future residents,” explained County Attorney Tom Humbach. “The City of New York must comply with this order and cannot unilaterally deport its impoverished without cooperating with the County by securing a license.”
Violation of this order is a misdemeanor carrying up to $5,000 penalty per violation, per day. For municipal corporations, a civil penalty may be assessed for violations of this Article up to $50,000 per violation, per day.