Albany — Albany County Executive Dan McCoy issued a State of Emergency on Tuesday, addressing the relocation of migrants, saying communication is key moving forward.
"We'll let you know how many families we can start to introduce into the Albany County, and into the City of Albany, how we can do this, when they're coming, so they're not coming in the middle of the night," he says.
The county would work with the state to relocate a maximum of 200 families to Albany County, and now officials are discussing where those families will stay. Amidst reports that UAlbany would be one of the sites, McCoy says the Alumni Quad dorms on Western Ave are part of the plan.
"As far as I can tell, yes, it’s on target," he says. "They want the downtown campus. That’s why I said it's important to get the buy-in from the community, the neighborhood association and the residents that live there."
Pine Hills Neighborhood Association President John Clarkson says they've been hoping Alumni Quad, which he says hasn't housed UAlbany students since the pandemic, would be active once again.
"Our major goals as a neighborhood is to keep it in good shape and occupied," Clarkson says. "From our perspective, that would probably be a very positive use and help the University repurpose or keep this with active occupancy."
As those rooms are available, beds at shelters around the county aren't. McCoy estimates more than 700 families, current residents, already stay at shelters throughout the County. Capital City Rescue Mission provides shelter for more than 200 people a night, along with 1000 meals a day and 7500 articles of clothing weekly.
"Right now [the numbers are] still strong because of all the things going on," Capital City Rescue Mission Executive Director Perry Jone says. "It's because of people coming in, people needing more help and some of the troubles that are in the whole area."
Shelters like the Capital City Rescue Mission are near capacity, but if they wanted to enter into a contract with a New York City entity to house migrants, they'd need to go through the County first. McCoy's State of Emergency doesn't allow municipalities, hotels or shelters to enter into any contract to provide travel or accommodations to asylum seekers without a license granted by the County. This comes as offers have already been made.
"We had the company that works primarily from New York City already reaching out to our hotels locally," McCoy says. "Already offering them a large sum of money to rent their hotels for 2 to 3 years."
McCoy is calling on the federal government to allocate more funding for resources to help support an influx of migrants. While in Albany on Wednesday, NY Senator Chuck Schumer was asked how they're addressing the issue.
"We're working very hard to have the federal government make sure that New York taxpayers don't pay the load," he says. "We've gotten $800 million already, but in the next budget we're fighting to get significantly more."
New York's State Budget includes $1 billion for NYC to address the migrant crisis. They will be using those funds to pay other municipalities for costs associated with relocating migrants.