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Syracuse takes another step to create more affordable housing in 2023

A large brick building sits on a street.
Max Mimaroglu
Clouds fill the sky above the Syracuse City Hall.

The city of Syracuse is hoping to make significant progress this spring on its goal of filling vacant lots with new, affordable housing. Syracuse Common Councilors recently approved 11 developers to receive a piece of pandemic relief funding set aside for infill housing development projects.

Deputy Mayor Sharon Owens said this approach is different than the usual routine with federal Department of Housing and Urban Development.

"We've always felt like the cart has been before the horse," Owens said. "With the flexibility of the funds, we get to determine where our priority areas are in the city and working with the council and working with all the neighborhood stakeholders, identify where we want to create neighborhoods."

Owens said the city wanted to vet developers ahead of time to get an idea of what they might propose in time for the next construction season. In all, $11 million will fund projects, that could include single-family homes, tiny homes, and multi-family rentals.

Owens said the preferred developers range from tried-and-true partners to newer firms located outside the city.

"Even for single-family houses, if we have a developer that says 'I can do five lots at one time', as opposed to many of our affordable housing agencies that maybe could do one or two houses," Owens said. "We were just at Jubilee Homes. They're a preferred developer. They'll do another set of houses. Home Headquarters. They've always been our affordable stakeholder, but we wanted to bring in some more folks who would be willing to do affordable housing."

Projects will need council approval before developers receive funding.

All of the projects involve minority and women-owned business compliance, monitoring, and reporting. Plus, developers will have to meet local hiring requirements.

Separately, councilors accepted $1 million in federal HUD funding which will also be put toward infill housing and the city’s Resurgent Neighborhood Initiative for new home construction.

Scott Willis covers politics, local government, transportation, and arts and culture for WAER. He came to Syracuse from Detroit in 2001, where he began his career in radio as an intern and freelance reporter. Scott is honored and privileged to bring the day’s news and in-depth feature reporting to WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners. You can find him on twitter @swillisWAER and email him at