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New initiatives in Syracuse plan to tackle housing instability

Ellen Abbott
Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh announces a new housing initiative Wednesday

The city of Syracuse has put together a package of initiatives meant to attack the issue of housing instability.

Over the past year, different city departments have been working together to crack a statistic that worries Mayor Ben Walsh. About 25 percent of all Syracuse households move every year.

"It is very disruptive on our families in the city and it’s something we’ve taken a very hard look at," said Walsh.

For those living in poverty, Walsh said the disruption takes an even bigger toll.

"For adults, it can impact their ability to obtain food, transportation, health care," he said. "And for children, within school, we see kids with higher rates of absenteeism and lower test scores."

The result is an attempt to improve housing instability through 11 initiatives. They fall under the categories of improving housing quality, reducing evictions and connecting residents with resources. 

One initiative has already been a success. The eviction prevention case management pilot program has reduced evictions by 75 percent at Syracuse Housing Authority and Clinton Plaza Apartments.

Syracuse's Neighborhood and Business Development Department Commissioner Stephanie Pasquale said it basically works with residents to eliminate issues that could lead to eviction.

"Maybe people didn’t know there was a HEAP program available, or maybe folks didn’t realize there were housekeeping services available if they were getting cited for hoarding or other issues.  So it’s really that early intervention much like the mortgage industry provides," said Pasquale.

Officials would like that program to expand to other housing complexes in the city.