County Sends Message to NYC: Stop Using "SOTA Program" to Send Homeless to Broome

Broome County Sends Message: NYC, Stop Using Your “SOTA Program” to Send NYC’s Homeless to Broome

County Uncovers Illegal Operation with Potential Impact on Taxpayers 

(BINGHAMTON, NY) Broome County Executive Jason Garnar was joined today by Nancy Williams, Commissioner of the Department of Social Services, to announce that Broome County has demanded that New York City’s Human Resources Administration (HRA) stop using its Special One Time Assistance (SOTA) program or any other process to illegally transfer NYC’s homeless people to Broome County. 

“I support all efforts to help people out of homelessness,” said Garnar. “However, I have a problem with this NYC program sending people to Broome County, paying for their rent for one year and having no intents of them returning. Recipients of this program have been relocated by NYC to Upstate NY, then abandoned by NYC HRA. After being relocated by NYC, these individuals then seek medical, food, cash, and other forms of public assistance from the targeted county.  That is illegal and could have a significant impact on our taxpayers in Broome County.”   According to the New York City Department of Social Services, their SOTA program provides one year’s full rent up front and relocates NYC’s clients within New York City, to other New York State counties or outside of New York State. 

This year, the Broome County Department of Social Services identified five (5) cases where NYC transferred its responsibilities to Broome County by paying a landlord in the county one year’s rent up front. 

Broome County discovered NYC’s HRA is not following their own eligibility requirements, which includes requiring eligible NYC residents to be working and/or having enough income to make future rent payments. 

Broome County believes NYC HRA’s actions are in direct contradiction to New York State Social Services Law §148, which requires NYC to provide assistance and care for their residents. By relocating individuals to Broome County, NYC HRA is avoiding its responsibility to their indigent residents, which includes housing their clients within NYC.  Instead, NYC is transferring their governmental responsibilities to Broome County. 

Broome County DSS officials have contacted NYC HRA and demanded the following:

  • NYC immediately stop using its SOTA program or any other process to illegally transfer its homeless indigents to Broome County.  
  • In addition, for the five (5) cases and other cases that may be identified, Broome has requested compensation for ongoing local assistance costs incurred.  

Broome County is prepared to use any means possible, including taking legal action, to stop this NYC program. 

03/08/2018 - 3:58pm