ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Rochester Mayor Malik Evans shared recommendations made by the Rochester Housing Quality Task Force during a morning press conference Tuesday.
The Housing Quality Task Force was amended to develop policies that improve and enhance housing quality for city residents. All of its 21 members joined the mayor Tuesday.
Throughout the span of 19 weeks, its members worked to assemble a list of 16 immediate recommendations the mayor’s administration will have the opportunity to implement in the community.
According to the document shared by the task force, these proposals are broken down into five themes, with each containing two to five specific actions. Code enforcement, facilitating responsible ownership, repair and improvement programs, increasing supply of quality housing, and improving education.
“When we presented these actions to the mayor, he was not only very receptive but was also very clear that these things will start immidietyly,” said Carol Wheeler, the City’s Manager of Housing. “These ideas have been captured, and we hope the spirit of the work will continue in action by those in our community.” e spoke with the mayor.”
Members consist of housing advocates and providers, government and non-profit leaders.
Mayor Evans supported the work of the task force, saying the decisions of his administration will be aided by attorneys and housing experts.
“The work continues. A 90-day workforce will not solve all the issues in housing in Rochester, but I know this will make an impact on our community, for everyone,” Evans said.
“All the data is clear,” Evans said. If people are in good, steady, healthy housing. They keep their jobs longer, their kids do better in school, and they have less stress. We know how important this is. I want Rochester residents to be homeowners. If they are renters, we have to make sure they are living in properties that are up to code and equitable. We will use
Rochester City Council Kim Smith said although the process of the task force is in its early stages, its work is a sign of a positive step toward the right direction for housing quality.
“This is just the first step,” Smith said. “There is much more to be done. Any effective progress must include context experts. Those who are directly impacted by the housing issues in Rochester. Those who have lived through the problems and have real experience with them. We want to make sure we engage everyone from the city.”
In response to the recommendations released Tuesday, members of the Rochester Tenant’s Union argued that the proposed changes do not reflect the community’s needs.
“Too many Rochester families have been forced to endure horrific conditions due to slumlord greed and city negligence,” said coordinator Liz McGriff. “Rents are skyrocketing, but our housing conditions are only getting worse. Our community desperately needs community-driven solutions that address the root causes of our housing crisis.
Tenants union members say solutions need to be transformative and need to address tenants, homeless residents, and low-income homeowners. According to the union, two out of three city residents are tenants, but landlords outnumbered tenants on the task force.
Back in February, the task force was charged with completing a number of proposals that will better housing in Rochester. These proposals were unveiled during this press conference.
Now, it will be up to a partnership between the mayor’s administration and the task force to work together for a common solution to local housing conflicts.
“Folks at City Hall now know what their tasks are,” Evans said. “We are not gonna tolerate broken-down structures. If we wouldn’t live in it, I don’t expect our constituents to live in it. We will not accept it.”
This press conference took place at City Hall located on 30 Church Street.
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