The Central New York region is rich with history, dating back to a population boom during the industrial revolution. But along with that comes an aging housing stock that in many ways provides substandard living conditions for today’s residents. In Syracuse, 47 percent of the current housing stock was constructed in 1939 or earlier. Of the 55,635 households within the city, 25 percent suffer from at least one severe housing problem such as a lack of complete kitchen or plumbing facilities.
Lead paint was banned in 1978, but more than 90 percent of occupied homes in the city of Syracuse were built before that regulation was enacted. As a result, the Onondaga County Health Department reports 10.4 percent of Syracuse children tested in 2019 were shown to have elevated lead levels.
Central New York boasts an affordable cost of living, but there are still great disparities in terms of who in our community can afford to own a home. While home ownership is not necessarily for everyone, it can instill a sense of pride, which critically impacts the quality of life in our neighborhoods — including our health, security, education and progress as a community.
As we examine our indicators and think about the future growth and development of our region, it is imperative that we consider the availability of safe, affordable housing in both our urban and rural communities.