Affordable housing

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Some Syracuse residents are trying to focus the spotlight on poverty in the city.

More than a dozen members of some Syracuse churches marched through downtown during a busy midday, calling for more action to prevent poverty in the Salt City. Organizer Raymond Blackwell says there are three things that need to happen for Syracuse to lose the distinction of having the highest rate of concentrated poverty among minorities.

"One, is job training and job placement. Two, is fair housing policies, and three, is fully fund the public schools,” said Blackwell.

Rescue Mission

Some big changes are taking place at the Rescue Mission in Syracuse as the organization continues to fight homelessness in central New York.  

A new $7.2 million wing will increase the number of beds for temporary shelter and for the first time, will offer that service to women, according to Rescue Mission CEO Alan Thornton.

Samuel Whitehead / WSKG News

Ithaca wants more people to live within the city limits. With that goal in mind, a new comprehensive plan passed the planning board Tuesday and will soon move to the Common Council.

But attracting more residents won’t be easy. More than anything, Ithaca needs affordable housing -- and that starts with a location.

City Planning Director JoAnn Cornish says the city has targeted certain spots around Ithaca where they feel that housing can go, like the West State Street Corridor.

Solvejg Wastvedt / WRVO News


An affordable housing project in Oneonta just got nearly $7 million from New York state. Gary Herzig says the project fills a big need.

“We have very few affordable housing units for working families,” Herzig says. “In addition, we have a list, a long list, of vacant housing units that unfortunately is getting longer every year.”

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Some much needed affordable rental units will be coming to the Salina Street corridor in Syracuse, as part of the Salina Crossing project. Ground has been broken on the biggest site, a new mixed-use building on property that once was home to the crumbling Otisca Building on the city’s north side.  

Ben Lockwood, vice president of Housing Visions, the developer, says there is a big need for this kind of housing.

Sasha-Ann Simons / WXXI

Many people with disabilities are limited in their housing options -- not just because of a lack of availability in desirable neighborhoods, but because of outdated standards of accessibility. And that can leave people feeling isolated and segregated.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Syracuse’s homes are old. Virtually all of them, nearly 95 percent, were built before the Americans with Disabilities Act went into effect a quarter century ago. 

That law mandates accessible building standards for people with a disability. But since the ADA was passed, the city’s population has been declining. That means little demand to construct new housing. That’s also resulted in an acute shortage of housing options for people with a physical disability, according to advocates. 

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

It takes several tries for the medical transport van to back up the snow-covered driveway and onto the frozen front yard. The tires spin in the snow, which crunches in the cold air. The van has to get close enough for the ramp that slides out the back to bridge the gap from the van to the porch, rising over the three steps to the door.

Wooden porches like this don the front of many of Syracuse’s old homes, constructed during the city’s boom era.

CNY Fair Housing

A recent report finds Syracuse and Onondaga County suffer from “hyper-segregation,” where minorities are mostly confined to a few, low-income neighborhoods.

A practice of only placing affordable housing in low-income neighborhoods, combined with the fact that few landlords outside those blocks are willing to accept housing vouchers, has resulted in Syracuse being one of the most segregated cities in the country, according to a report by CNY Fair Housing.

"As long as we keep having this pattern reoccurring for decades and generations, we’re not going to see, really address the difficult issue of the fact that we have one of poorest communities in the country and one of the highest rates of child poverty in the country," said Sally Santangelo, executive director of CNY Fair Housing.

Woolworth Building now accepting applications

Nov 14, 2014
Julia Botero

The historic Woolworth Building in downtown Watertown is accepting applications for tenants. After years of talks and renovations, work to transform this architectural landmark from an eyesore to an asset is coming to a close. The apartment building will be ready for tenants to move in by mid-January. 

The Woolworth Building apartments will fill a deep need in the Watertown community - affordable housing for people who need it most. The apartments are spacious, clean and for those moving in this winter, totally new.

Syracuse Housing Authority marks 75 years

Apr 7, 2014

The Syracuse Housing Authority, the agency overseeing publicly-subsidized housing in the city, is celebrating its 75th anniversary.

As it marks the milestone, the authority has a waiting list 3,000 names long to get into one of its units. There are twice as many people waiting to get a Section 8 voucher that helps low income people pay rent. And the federal dollars coming to SHA is significantly less than it used to be.

Still, SHA executive director Bill Simmons says the authority is doing more and they’re moving in a "unique direction" toward a focus on home ownership.

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

The pool of affordable housing in Syracuse is growing with the development of four multi-family apartment buildings along the James Street corridor.

City neighborhood and development commissioner Paul Driscoll doesn't think there are any other housing projects like it in the city: a mix of market rate apartments with affordable apartments in one building. The city is opening these four new apartment buildings after major renovations, and Driscoll said the affordability factor is key.

Nearly all of Fort Drum's soldiers are at the post right now, not on deployments – and that's a first for the region since the installation's expansion in 2001. That has tightened the region's housing market, for soldiers, who have fewer choices, and for civilians, who don't receive housing assistance like soldiers do and are looking for affordable housing.  

Housing Visions

An affordable housing organization is moving forward with plans to build a mixed-use, low-income housing project on Syracuse's north side where a brewery once stood.