Waterloo, New York (May 19, 2023) – Seneca County Chairman of the Board of Supervisors Michael Enslow makes the following Statement:
Seneca County is a warm and welcoming place for all to come and enjoy. We have many benefits that not only our residents savor but so do our visitors every year.
Seneca County is one of the smallest counties in New York State. As much as we would love to help everyone, we have to be mindful that taking care of our citizens and looking out for their safety and best interests come first. Our housing situation currently is bursting at the seams that is combined with a stressed & overworked public assistance network. We try to do the best we can every day for our citizens, but despite that – when the elements of Mother Nature are at their worst; some of our homeless population are still transported to other counties for shelter.
Since the middle of last week, I have been involved in multiple phone calls and meetings. I was on a web conference with New York City Mayor Eric Adams who asked for upstate counties to step up and lend a hand because New York City declared itself a Sanctuary City.
I was on a meeting with the Association of New York State Counties who provided updates.
Every day I’ve been on the phone with local colleagues, constituents and colleagues in Albany, trying to keep a hand in on what’s going on.
I’ve been in communication with people from the Governor’s Office, who are also soliciting counties to step up – however, we have not filled out the request for people to come here.
I have been in contact with Seneca County Sheriff Timothy Luce and the Seneca County Office of Human Services.
I cannot tell you how many meetings, phone calls, & hours I’ve spent on this since last week.
The bottom line is that the State simply has no plan. The city itself received $1 Billion for people coming in that they themselves aren’t able to take care of in a humane manner. Governor Hochul & Mayor Adams need to understand & respect that they just cannot send people upstate and expect counties to take care of them in a humane and safe way when the city cannot. Mayor Adams should declare New York City no longer a Sanctuary City. The Mayor knows he cannot handle the people and treat them humanely at the same time.
Seneca County cannot do it. If we could, we would welcome people with open arms. I hope the state recognizes the strain this would put on the smallest of counties and utilizes the resources available in nearby metro areas.
We need open communication and transparency from the Governor and the Mayor of New York City.
Chairman Seneca County Board of Supervisors