An Employer Assisted Housing Program for University Hill
In March of 2009, SEUNA delivered letters to the five largest employers on University Hill: (Syracuse University, Upstate Medical University, SUNY-ESF, Crouse Hospital and the Veterans Administration Hospital) proposing that they join together to develop programs to bring more of their employees to live on University Hill. There would be benefits for everyone:
Employers would find that a strengthened and enhanced neighborhood makes it easier to attract potential employees and students.
Employees would enjoy a short, car-free commute to work, and the pleasures of a walkable neighborhood.
The neighborhood would benefit from increased owner-occupancy and stronger property values.
The city would benefit from an expanded tax base.
Letters of Support
Paul Driscoll, Commissioner, Department of Neighborhood and Business Development, city of Syracuse - "An effective University Hill employer assisted housing program would reduce commuter emissions and, at the same time, improve traffic congestion on the city's eastside - as you know, a major concern for regional transportation planners."
Congressman Daniel B. Maffei - "I would like to lend my support to the Southeast University Neighborhood Association and their goal of instituting an effective employer-assisted housing program in the University Hill area of Syracuse...With the full participation of major employers in the area, University Hill's well-educated and energetic employees would bolster area business and breathe new life into neighborhood institutions."
David J. Valesky, New York State Senator - "I stand in support of your efforts and encourage the institutions of the University Hill to convene a joint working group to create and manage an effective Employer Assisted Housing program for University Hill employees."
William B. Magnarelli, member, NYS Assembly - "As you know, similar programs have been successful in other areas of the country, and we are beginning to see the same success with neighborhood programs in Syracuse...I am very supportive of the proposed project and am willing to assist SEUNA in any way that I can in order to help create these new programs."
Joan K. Christensen, member, NYS Assembly - "I hope you agree that SEUNA makes a convincing case for an effective Employer Assisted Housing program on University Hill. I encourage you to take immediate steps to establish such a program in order to restore many of these architecturally splendid homes to their past glory and to recapture a family friendly area."
Syracuse Common Council (all members) - "We support SEUNA's request for employer assisted housing programs in our City...We would welcome a collaborative approach with the city, SEUNA and other organizations to begin to work toward the implementation of such a homeownership program in the University Hill area."
Democratic Caucus, Onondaga County Legislature - "We recognize that as the five major employers in the University Hill area, your organizations, and your employees play a vital role in the strength of our County, our City, and our neighborhoods. We support SEUNA's request for employer assisted housing programs in the City of Syracuse. We would welcome a collaborative effort with the County. the City, SEUNA and other organizations to begin to work toward the implementation of such a program."
Michael Flusche, retired Syracuse University faculty member and administrator - "As more blocks have become almost or completely student rentals, the quality of life declines... Reversing that downward spiral would be a major gain for the city and its major employers by providing a close livable residential neighborhood where the riches of city life are accessible and affordable and incredibly attractive."
George W. Curry, Kennedy Distinguished Faculty Chair in Landscape Architecture, SUNY-ESF - "I am convinced that an employer assisted housing program would help the 700 block of Sumner Avenue and the neighborhood as a whole to return to a more reasonable mix of owner occupants and rentals. It is my hope that the institutions and SEUNA can develop a creative employer assisted housing program."