RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The inscription on the Statue of Liberty says “Give me your tired, your poor, and your huddled masses,” but CBS 17 has learned that New York City hasn’t been practicing what it preaches.
An investigation by the New York Post and CBS 2 uncovered New York City was spending millions to relocate homeless families across the United States, including sending them to North Carolina.
“I have not heard about that,” said North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper. “I have not heard about that.”
Raleigh Mayor-elect Mary-Ann Baldwin also had not heard of it.
“To me, if they made a decision that they were going to ship people across the country to other cities, they should’ve at least communicated with the people who are in charge of governance in these areas,” said Fayetteville Mayor Mitch Colvin.
New York’s “Special One Time Assistance” program (SOTA) allows families who lived in shelters for more than a year to relocate to another community and they will pay their rent for 12 months.
“Some of these people were allowing these folks that were transitioned out of New York to live in substandard conditions and worse situations than they were,” said Colvin. “New York kind of washed their hands of it.”
As more details about the program continue to emerge, Colvin and Baldwin said they’re frustrated by New York’s lack of transparency.
“The most important thing is to make sure we’re connecting them to the resources they need,” said Baldwin. “Not knowing they’re here we don’t know how to connect them to the resources.”
“We’re scrambling now to put resources in place to help them transition out of that unfortunate situation to become a successful citizen,” said Colvin.
That’s why Raleigh and Fayetteville aren’t taking any options off the table moving forward.
“I’m upset about it,” said Colvin. “I think it’s irresponsible on their part, and I certainly didn’t appreciate it.”
“We’ll put our heads together and figure it out,” said Baldwin.
If you know someone who has been relocated to North Carolina from New York City as part of the SOTA program, you’re being asked to contact your local leaders so they can help connect you with the proper resources that can break the cycle of homelessness.