Public input sessions on housing issues planned

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City Councilmember Kim Smith is slated to host four public input sessions on Rochester’s housing issues, with a particular focus on the recommendations of the mayor’s Housing Quality Task Force.

The first session will be held Thursday, 4 – 5:30 p.m., at the Thomas P. Ryan Recreation Center, and more will be announced in the near future. The meetings are intended to target residents in each of the city’s quadrants.

The feedback gathered will be presented to the task force, City Council, mayor’s administration, Monroe County officials, and members of Rochester’s federal, state, and local delegations.

Last month, the task force proposed 16 actions intended to improve the city’s housing quality and to be quickly implementable by the mayor’s office. They centered on five categories: code enforcement; facilitating responsible ownership through land bank, foreclosures, and building registry; repair and improvement programs; increasing the supply of quality housing; and improving communication and education.

Smith, who was the City Council delegate to the task force, alluded to the public comment sessions at the news conference announcing those recommendations but did not have many specifics at that time.

“We have heard from the context experts, and the mayor is going to begin implementing those recommendations,” she said at the news conference. “But now the piece that I and some specific colleagues are most excited about—Vice President Mary Lupien, Councilmember Stanley Martin—we’re very excited about engaging the context experts. Those who are directly impacted by these housing issues and those with expert lived experiences, in how we can move forward to address the housing issues in Rochester.”

The task force initially comprised 13 city government representatives, two landlords, a tenant union representative, and a homeless union representative. In early June, the union representatives withdrew from the group to protest a lack of tenant representation and alleged dismissal of their policy priorities. The task force’s policy scoring data indicates they deliberated on only one of the City-Wide Tenant Union of Rochester’s 10 core proposals.

Those unable to attend the in-person meeting can give their perspective by filling out this survey.

Justin O’ Connor is a Rochester Beacon intern and a student at the University of Rochester. The Beacon welcomes comments from readers who adhere to our comment policy including use of their full, real name.

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