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Ontario County enacts emergency housing measures amid asylum seeker concerns

  • / Updated:
  • Staff Report 

Ontario County’s Board of Supervisors Chairman, Todd Campbell, declared a state of emergency on Thursday, effective until September 7, as a precautionary step against potential housing crises.

Although no indications suggest asylum seekers are currently seeking emergency accommodations in Ontario County, Campbell aims to ensure that only Ontario County residents receive emergency housing amidst the region’s significant housing shortage.

In a broader emergency order, Campbell delineated specific requirements for potential emergency housing situations:

  1. Any entity providing emergency housing for over 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.
  2. The plan should confirm adherence to all local, state, and federal laws, including the New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code.
  3. Provisions must be established for essential needs, such as food and supplies, and services like medical care, education, and public safety.
  4. Any approved plan will be subject to a 30-day review, with the potential for revocation if it fails to maintain stipulated standards.

Campbell expressed concern that an unforeseen influx of individuals needing shelter could aggravate the current housing crisis, putting both properties and lives at risk. The county attorney has been authorized to enforce the emergency order, complementing any existing enforcement remedies or penalties.