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Seneca County declares housing state of emergency

  • / Updated:
  • Staff Report 

Seneca County officials, led by Board of Supervisors Chairman Michael Enslow, have declared a state of emergency over an acute housing shortage.

Following a nearly two-year comprehensive Housing Needs Assessment, concluded in June 2023, the county’s Department of Planning & Community Development found a severe lack of available housing catering to various economic sectors of the population.

The study, funded by a Community Development Block Grant from the New York State Office of Community Renewal, underlined that the housing stock for both high- and low-income residents is critically low.

Reports from the Commissioner of Human Services also highlighted the glaring absence of emergency or temporary shelters within the county. Referrals for housing had to be made to providers outside the county, underscoring the urgency of the situation. Michael Enslow stressed the link between adequate housing and economic growth, pointing out a stagnation in housing development over the last decade, exacerbated by market conditions and demographic shifts due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This declaration mandates the prioritization of residential housing development and ensures the utilization of all county resources to address the issue. The state of emergency will be in place for 30 days unless amended or rescinded.