(The Center Square) — New York City Mayor Eric Adams is expanding the city’s affordable housing voucher program amid a surge of asylum seekers, but upstate leaders are pushing back on the plans.
On Tuesday, Adams signed an emergency order allowing qualifying residents of the city’s five boroughs to use their taxpayer-funded housing vouchers statewide.
The Democrat said the changes would allow longtime New Yorkers to “move out of the city’s shelter system to other parts of the state with more affordable housing options” while “opening up space in our city’s shelter system for the estimated tens of thousands of migrants who’ve arrived in the city.”
“Our shelters are far past capacity, but thousands of households still remain left stuck without any affordable housing options across the five boroughs,” Adams said in a statement. “We hope our partners across the state will greet these longtime New Yorkers with open arms and good job opportunities.”
The move comes as the city struggles to make room for more asylum-seekers, as a record number crossed the U.S.-Mexico border last month. New York City has seen an influx of nearly 116,000 migrants over the past year, which has pushed the city’s shelter system to the breaking point.
Adams has sought to relocate migrants to upstate counties, but the move has been met with resistance. In June, he filed a lawsuit against 30 counties that passed restrictions on migrant relocations.
Stephen Acquario, executive director of the New York Association of Counties, said Adams’ executive order expanding the voucher program will “add additional strain on county services like mental health, public health, and education, that are already stretched to the breaking point in many counties.”
“While counties recognize the dire situation the city is facing, we are gravely concerned that the plan announced today will only exacerbate the affordable housing crisis that counties across the state are experiencing,” he said in a statement.
He called on Adams to rescind the executive order, calling the NYC directive a “direct extension of the federal government’s failure to address the migrant crisis.”
“Shifting a problem from one part of the state to another does not solve anything — it simply creates more problems,” Acquario said. “The solution to this crisis rests squarely at the feet of the federal government where it began.”
Rockland County Executive Ed Day called Adam’s order a “sleight of hand” that will “displace” upstate homeless individuals seeking emergency shelter.
“This is another attempt by the City of New York and Mayor Eric Adams to circumvent the laws and shift a problem resulting from its failed homeless and Sanctuary City policies to other municipalities,” he said in a statement. “What Mayor Adams fails to realize is this does not solve the problem; it only spreads it across New York State while incentivizing more illegal immigration among migrants eager to backfill the spots in city shelters as they open.”