Late last week a long time hunch turned out very accurate. For many years upstate law enforcement officers, and some of the general public, suspected that someone or an organization in New York City was complicit with relocating people from one of the five boroughs to bucolic upstate New York.
This suspicion was proven as fact by an astute Broome County Department of Social Services case worker, who in turn reported their findings to a supervisor. From there we all heard about it from the riled-up Broome County Executive, Jason Garnar.
The New York City agency responsible for this unscrupulous migration is the Human Resource Administration. (HRA) This is not the type of human resources that helps with employee insurance issues in the workplace. The HRA is a subdivision of the city’s Department of Social Services. The mission of the HRA is “fighting poverty and income inequality by providing New Yorkers in need with essential benefits such as Food Assistance and Emergency Rental Assistance.” According to several published reports, one of the methods of fulfilling their mission statement is the Special One Time Assistance program, or SOTA.
SOTA is certainly special, and the other operative term in their acronym name is One-Time, which is similar to One-Way, just like the bus ticket the selected New York City homeless were provided. The displaced travelers also receive one year of upstate rent payments, because in the words of the mutton-chop-wearing, persistent NYC political candidate, Jimmy McMillian, New York City “rent is too damn high”. The difference estimated between NYC rent and upstate rent is about $12,000 per year. This makes economic sense if your goal is to warehouse people far from home.
It sure looks like the NYC strategy for dealing with their homeless population is Out of Sight, Out of Mind. The glitch in the NYC plan is this is completely illegal under the provisions of Social Services Law Section 148. In New York State each county is responsible to take care of their resident destitute population, and specifically to not send them to another jurisdiction. It appears this ruse must have been attempted sometime in the past which caused Section 148 being passed into law by the state legislature.
For those with no handy copy of a Social Service Law book, here’s an excerpt of Section 148; “no person shall, without legal authority, send or bring, or cause to be sent or brought, any needy person into a public welfare district with the purpose of making him a charge on such public welfare district, or for the purpose of avoiding the responsibility of assistance or care in the public welfare district from which he is brought or sent.”
It is probably a safe bet to assume other counties all over upstate New York are conducting audits of service recipients who only need help with groceries but not with their rent. Another safe assumption is even if the needy people stop arriving; there will be years of litigation before upstate governments, and their taxpayers, see any monetary relief.
Broome County was lucky this was only a resettlement of homeless people. Last week we learned NYC not only exports humans to upstate, they also export to Alabama tons of bio-solids by the train load. If you are curious, bio-solid is another term for human poo.
In Alabama it wasn’t an alert civil servant making the Poo Train discovery; it was half the noses in Birmingham that noticed something was amiss with the 80 car freight train parked for over a week in the warm southern sun. So look on the bright side Broome County, it might have been worse.