Broome County officials are demanding that New York City stop a program that pays the rent for homeless families who agree to relocate to our area.

The county’s Department of Social Services has discovered that five homeless families, all with children, have had their rent paid for one year in exchange to moving to Broome County.

New York City’s Human Resources Administration reportedly confirmed that they were sent as part of the city’s Special One Time Assistance or SOTA program.

DSS discovered the situation when the families came in to apply for SNAP food stamps, Medicaid, and utility benefits, all of which they’re now legally entitled to.

Plus, once the year is up, the families are eligible for Broome County housing aid.

Broome’s Deputy County Attorney Howard Schultz says he’s asked New York officials to cease the SOTA program, compensate Broome for the additional benefit costs, and take the families back.

“They should be taking the families back.  These families should have never been basically excommunicated from New York City.  New York City has a homeless problem.  Broome County, and every county to some degree, has a homeless problem.  Broome County takes its homeless problem seriously and not cynically like New York City does,” said Schultz.

Schultz says state law forbids government agencies from shirking their responsibility for caring for their needy.

He says New York has promised to respond to Broome’s concerns early next week.

Schultz says that if they don’t end the program, the county could seek either a civil injunction or a criminal investigation.