New York City gets six months to clear Poughkeepsie hotel

A state judge barred New York City from using Dutchess County’s hotels to house migrants and gave the city six months to remove dozens of people staying at the Red Roof Inn on Route 9 in Poughkeepsie.

Judge Maria Rosa ruled on Dec. 13 that New York City’s use of the hotel beginning in May turned it into a de facto shelter, which requires approval from the state Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance and submission of a security plan to the agency and Dutchess County.

She gave the city 180 days to remove every migrant from the hotel. Rosa’s order allows the county to continue inspecting the hotel and providing medical and other services to the migrants, who are seeking asylum in the U.S.

William F.X. O’Neil, Dutchess’ departing county executive, said on Dec. 18 that “logic has prevailed” and that New York City “was wrong in its secretive and haphazard relocation of homeless asylum-seekers to Dutchess.

“We applaud Judge Rosa for her wise and thoughtful decision,” he said. “She was not swayed by the hyperbole and sensation that has surrounded this case.”

The Red Roof Inn on Route 9 is lodging 86 asylum-seekers from New York City.
The Red Roof Inn on Route 9 is lodging 86 asylum-seekers from New York City. (File photo by L. Sparks)

The number of migrants remaining at Red Roof is unknown, say Dutchess officials, because New York City and DocGo, the company hired to find them lodging, have been “unresponsive” to requests for information. The county believes that “many have already chosen to return to New York City.”

Dutchess County filed suit on May 19, two days before New York City began busing asylum-seekers to the Red Roof Inn.

With the filing, which also names the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, the owners of the Red Roof Inn and a Holiday Inn on Route 9 in the Town of Poughkeepsie, Dutchess joined a wave of emergency declarations and legal actions as counties in the Hudson Valley and upstate sought to prevent New York City from housing migrants in their hotels.

In July, Putnam County legislators, by a 7-1 vote, approved a shelter ban that stipulates that “no municipality outside of Putnam County may offer or provide temporary housing within Putnam, thereby creating a homeless shelter, without first entering into a shared services agreement” with the county.

The vote enshrined as policy temporary executive orders that County Executive Kevin Byrne began issuing in May as New York City started using hotels in the lower Hudson Valley to house migrants. Also in July, a state judge dismissed Putnam from a lawsuit filed by New York City against 30 counties because Byrne had not extended his executive order.

New York City began relocating migrants in the spring to alleviate pressure on its shelter system, which has filled with asylum-seekers. In August, Mayor Eric Adams said the city had sheltered and provided services to more than 100,000 migrants since April 2022.

At a Town Hall meeting in September, Adams said: “Let me tell you something, New Yorkers. Never in my life have I had a problem that I did not see an ending to — I don’t see an ending to this. This issue will destroy New York City.”

To free up space, New York State created a $25 million program to provide rental assistance to migrants willing to relocate to upstate counties. The state has also been pressing the federal government to expedite work authorizations for asylum-seekers so they can afford their own housing.

Gov. Kathy Hochul said in October that the state had identified more than 18,000 jobs available with 400 employers willing to hire migrants authorized to work in the U.S.

Attorney General Letitia James on Dec. 22 released a letter she and 18 other attorneys general sent to Alejandro Mayorkas, the secretary for Homeland Security. They urged him to address barriers to work permits, including fees and delays in processing applications.

“It is unconscionable that after all the suffering they’ve endured on their journey, they encounter bureaucratic roadblocks preventing them from pursuing the American dream,” said James.

Behind The Story

Type: News

News: Based on facts, either observed and verified directly by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

The Peekskill resident is a former reporter for the Times Herald-Record in Middletown, where he covered Sullivan County and later Newburgh. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Morgan State University and a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Maryland. Location: Cold Spring. Languages: English. Area of Expertise: General.

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  1. Respectfully, in reference to Putnam County the term “shelter ban” is not accurate at all. It’s also worth restating that the City filed litigation against Putnam County as well, and lost. The matter was ultimately dismissed in its entirety. I wrote earlier about this in a letter to the editor.

    Byrne is the Putnam County executive.

  2. I disagree with exactly half of the things written in this article, but the Red Roof Inn looks like my kind of place!

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