Referred to: The Health, Human Services and Housing Committee (Chairman Uchitelle and Legislators Corcoran, Erner, Lopez, Nolan, Petit, and Stewart), and The Ways and Means Committee (Chairman Gavaris and Legislators Cahill, Criswell, Roberts, and Ronk)
Legislator Phil Erner offers the following:
WHEREAS, the Ulster County Legislature finds that housing is a natural right; and
WHEREAS, the Department of Social Services (DSS) has certain responsibilities to the people of Ulster County to provide temporary assistance (TA) in the form of temporary and emergency housing; and
WHEREAS, such TA housing is largely governed by New York State law, Office of Temporary & Disability Assistance (OTDA); and
WHEREAS, at present the people of Ulster County have an especially acute need for TA housing; and
WHEREAS, various client households currently or recently housed under DSS TA have recommended improvements to these services; and
WHEREAS, clients whose expectations DSS TA fails to meet are urged to file a Fair Hearing with OTDA; now, therefore be it
RESOLVED, that DSS TA shall communicate in person with clients who are present at DSS office at Development Court, except that if client states their preference that DSS communicate electronically in any usual format that DSS can including but not limited to phone or email, then DSS TA shall instead communicate in such manner with such client; and, be it further
RESOLVED, that DSS, in coordination with Public Works and additional departments as necessary, should submit for the 2024 budget a plan for DSS to remain open at all times, not only its current business hours of 8 am to 5 pm excluding holidays, to handle TA housing cases, and shall cause the same to be enacted during the first quarter of 2024; and, be it further
RESOLVED, that DSS, in coordination with Public Works and additional departments as necessary, should submit for the 2024 budget a plan for DSS to improve its waiting areas; which recommendations by the Legislature include the erection of a big-top at Development Court parking lot, and designating an area especially for households with children; and shall cause the same to be enacted during the first quarter of 2024; and, be it further
RESOLVED, that, as a part of clients’ TA housing placements, DSS shall establish a transportation plan for such clients that ensures that clients and their household can arrive at and return from such places including but not limited to work sites, job interviews, school, groceries and other necessary and sufficient shopping, permanent-housing searches, medical appointments and storage units; and, be it further
RESOLVED, that for any client interviews conducted by DSS for the purpose of evaluation of services, DSS shall compensate clients in ways including but not limited to stipends and provision of childcare during the interview process; and, be it further
RESOLVED, that DSS, in coordination with Public Works and other departments as necessary, should propose for the 2024 budget the establishment of additional public, emergency-housing shelters around the County which in their totality can accommodate the range of household types and client situations now encountered by DSS TA and at present accommodated in motels or other private facilities; and, be it further
RESOLVED, that DSS shall inform at once, and coordinate to remind during inspections or communications by other departments, all private facilities currently or anticipated to be available for TA housing, that such facilities’ refusal of TA housing placements of DSS clients may be referred to local or county law enforcement, NYS attorney general and/or state and county human rights commissions; and, be it further
RESOLVED, that DSS shall report monthly to the Legislature’s committee(s) of jurisdiction about needs for workforce, funds, and other resources; and, be it further
RESOLVED, that, whether or not ODTA approves, DSS shall ensure that clients who present in need of TA housing thereby obtain it,
and move its adoption.
ADOPTED BY THE FOLLOWING VOTE:
Passed Committee: Health, Human Services and Housing on ____________.
Passed Committee: Ways and Means on ____________.
Current Text: PDF
Updated: September 26, 2023