HUDSON, N.Y. (NEWS10) – On Wednesday, Columbia County joined a growing list of Capital Region counties to declare a state of emergency. Like with its neighbors, the decision came in response to a recent influx of migrant workers seeking asylum in New York City, which has reached capacity.
Columbia County Board of Supervisors Chairman Matt Murell announced on Wednesday that the state of emergency was coming into effect in order to “preserve public safety and
hereby render all required and available assistance vital to the security, well-being, and
health of the citizens of the county.” Emergency declarations allow counties to encourage hotels and other short-term residences to provide housing to asylum-seekers to come to the area. It also allows counties to seek support funding.
In Columbia County, that assistance is significant. Murell said that a large homeless population has already called for the county to seek housing assistance elsewhere, and that its ability to help with the growing migrant crisis would be limited-to-none.
“As a county with no homeless shelter and being chronically short of hotel/motel space,
we have already been required to house some homeless in other counties. Please cross
Columbia County off the list of possible migrant transfer destinations as our limited
infrastructure, resources and housing options do not allow for an influx of homeless
migrants no matter the number. In addition, Columbia County already faces medical care and transportation shortages,” he said.
Other counties in the Capital Region and North Country have enacted states of emergency to prepare for potential asylum seekers, including Warren, Saratoga and Rensselaer counties. Officials from around Columbia County are gathering to monitor the issue further.