Asylum seekers are not coming to Geneva. Ontario County as a whole is not expected to receive any increase in the need for emergency housing in the foreseeable future. Yet on August 8, Ontario County Board of Supervisors Chairman Todd Campbell declared a state of emergency directing humanitarian services to be provided only to Ontario county residents.
The declaration comes as a response to an ongoing dispute between New York City and counties across the state over the appropriate response to a recent influx in asylum seekers. After over 31,000 migrants arrived in New York last year, NYC Mayor Eric Adams announced that there was “no more room at the inn”, as reported by City and State. Since that January press conference, asylum seekers have continued to arrive in NYC in the tens of thousands, often having been directly sent to democratic cities like New York by city leaders along the southern border. City and State reported more than 60,000 asylum seekers remained in New York as of September 10th.
Mayor Adams and his administration have spent several months now trying to reduce that number by finding housing for migrants in upstate New York. Dozens of counties attempted to block these efforts with emergency orders and declarations leading to the Adams Administration suing 30 counties this summer, according to Spectrum news 1.
Ontario County was not involved in these lawsuits. The Finger Lakes Times attributed Deputy County Administrator Alissa Bub as stating that asylum seekers are not in Ontario County and none seem to be coming anytime soon. Nevertheless, Ontario County, under the leadership of Todd Campbell (R – West Bloomfield), joined the ranks of New York counties to take measures against allowing asylum seekers.
In late June, the County Board of Supervisors voted in favor of a resolution that opposed the relocation of migrants to the county without further input. At the time, Board member Lisa Moore (D – South Bristol) spoke to News10NBC, disputing the “wrongheaded idea that we have a state of emergency about immigrants in this county”. She added that “We don’t have a state of emergency. We should welcome asylum seekers.”
The state of emergency that Chairman Campbell declared on August 8th was stated to be aimed at ensuring that local resources, and housing in particular, were properly managed in the event of a sudden spike in need, such that no one currently housed in the area would be displaced.
“An influx of asylum seekers would exacerbate our existing housing shortage and strain our communities and Department of Social Services,” Campbell said to RochesterFirst.com.
With a broader emergency order, Chairmen Campbell continued to establish more limitations on the distribution of resources in Ontario County.
Some of the housing requirements put in place by the order are as follows:
Any entity providing emergency housing for more than 10 individuals in the county must submit a comprehensive plan to the county’s Department of Social Services (DSS) and the County Housing Officer for approval.
The plan must conform to all local, state, and federal laws, including the New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code.
Arrangements must be established to provide funding for essential needs, such as food, supplies, and services like medical care, education, and public safety.
Approved plans are subject to a 30-day review, with the potential for revocation if it fails to maintain stipulated standards.
Chairman Campbell said in his declaration that these measures intended to protect against an unexpected surge in individuals seeking shelter which may pose a threat to life or property.
- Any entity providing emergency housing for more than 10 individuals in the county must submit a comprehensive plan to the county’s Department of Social Services (DSS) and the County Housing Officer for approval.
- The plan must conform to all local, state, and federal laws, including the New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code.
- Arrangements must be established to provide funding for essential needs, such as food, supplies, and services like medical care, education, and public safety.
- Approved plans are subject to a 30-day review, with the potential for revocation if it fails to maintain stipulated standards.