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Syracuse suffers from "hyper-segregation," report finds

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.

The Brookings Institution has placed Syracuse 9th in the nation for worst segregation. CNY Fair Housing finds a vast majority of African American and Hispanic residents in Syracuse are concentrated in the Near Westside or Near Eastside neighborhoods. 

The city’s minority white residents cover most of the rest of the city. The rest of Onondaga County is predominately white.

Santangelo says having high concentrations of poverty has ripple effects on education and job opportunities because there’s less mixing of wealth classes.

"As long as we keep isolating kids, and not exposing them to that diversity, it really does hurt our community as a whole," she said.

The report recommends a county-wide affordable housing plan and new laws against housing discrimination.

"Really what we want to see is that people have choice in the areas that they can live in," she said. "Right now, people don’t have a lot of choice."