Renters share concerns at meeting with Housing Quality Task Force

[anvplayer video=”5188988″ station=”998131″]

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — People gathered at city hall on Wednesday night to tell members of the Rochester Housing Quality Task Force that more needs to be done to protect renters.

Many people touted the progress that the task force has made but say more needs to be done to address bad landlords.

The Housing Quality Task Force members described their progress as they implement polices and regulations aimed at assisting the 60% of Rochesterians who rent their homes. On Wednesday’s meeting, many in attendance asked for more help. Russell Kelley is asking for his voice to be heard.

“We need to stand up for the people though and we need more voices here at city hall. Be the choice. Be a voice,” Kelley said.

That’s why he joined dozens at city hall demanding more action.

“What needs to be done is, I feel that we need to get certified to be going into these houses and see what’s going on,” Kelley said.

Kelley says many years of landlord neglect ultimately forced him from his home.

Council member Kim Smith hopes the town hall will show that the city is doing everything possible to address the housing crisis.

“When people have unstable housing, it impacts every area of their life,” Smith said. “For many of those who are suffering from housing instability, they are not in the media. They do not have online access. So we created this online town hall. So we can bring the updates around housing to the community.”

“What the Housing Quality Task Force was tasked to doing was coming together, to meet, to create a list of recommendations that will be then submitted to the administration for the administration to implement. And that has happened.”

Smith points to is the creation of a dedicated housing attorney who has held landlords and property owners accountable and reduced demolition default enforcement from 90-120 days to 30 days. That includes providing incentives for new construction to generate new units for ownership.

It’s progress that Joyce Nelson appreciates.

“The new owner had the property for a year,” Nelson said. “They got on his back like there was a second coat of skin for him to do what he had to do. real fast. and the person who had the property for two years didn’t do nothing.”

Councilmember Smith says another progress report from the Housing Quality Task Force is expected in early September.