Connect Residents to Resources
A common thread identified during our housing stability research was that people lacked an awareness of what housing resources and services existed and how to connect with them. Syracuse is a resource rich community, but many residents did not know about specific resources and information, and how those resources could help them. Residents who were already aware of them often got stuck in a referral loop, jumping from one service provider to the next to get connected to what they needed.
To start to address this issue, the i-team worked with the Department of Neighborhood and Business Development, the Division of Code Enforcement, the Syracuse City School District, and many local housing nonprofit agencies to create four initiatives.
Healthy Housing 101
In partnership with the Greater Syracuse Land Bank, the Division of Code Enforcement has started hosting annual Healthy Housing 101 events, in which inspectors lead tours through a house and point out common health and safety issues. These open house style events target service providers, tenants, and landlords, and aim to educate them on housing quality.
The first event was hosted in 2018 and had over eighty attendees with a 100% satisfaction rate. The next event will be June 7, 2019 from 11am - 2pm.
SCSD Healthy Housing Information Campaign
The City conducted an informational campaign with the Syracuse City School District (SCSD) to connect parents to housing information and resources. Housing packets were sent home with almost 11,000 SCSD elementary students. They included safe and healthy housing handouts, free smoke detector information, and Code Enforcement resources.
Rental Property Grading
Inspired by Rent Logic, the City is working with Syracuse University iSchool students to try to develop an online property grading system for Syracuse properties. The grade would be point-in-time and based on code violation history. This tool allows renters to access housing information and make informed decisions about where to move and rent.
The City is supporting local partners in the development of a tenants’ union that can help tenants understand their rights, connect them to legal representation, file small claims for security deposits, advocate for “just cause eviction,” and pursue housing quality lawsuits against property owners.
Overall, these 11 initiatives aim to reduce the 25% transiency rate in Syracuse and connect Syracuse renters with a more stable home to live in. Many of these initiatives are complete, while others are still in progress. Download the full list of initiatives below. The Innovation Team is looking forward to continuing to work with City Departments and community partners to drive these initiatives forward.