During Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh’s March community briefing, held on May 26, he shared COVID-19 updates including the City’s Pandemic Relief spending progress, Syracuse Surge training opportunities, and quality of life updates, among others. For the full briefing, watch here.
COVID-19 Updates: CARES for COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Relief
After providing updates on City stats on COVID infections, hospitalization rates and vaccination rates, Mayor Walsh highlighted CARES for COVID-19 Response. Mayor Walsh reminds community members that the drive to get people vaccinated continues. One way we have been working to reach residents is through direct outreach. The CARES for COVID-19 Response program – the City’s partnership with Service Employees International Union 1199 — is moving forward full steam ahead. Last month, Mayor joined SEIU 1911 to congratulate its graduating class of “Community Health Workers” – people from city neighborhoods who are reaching out to at-risk individuals and sharing information about the vaccine and COVID-19 precautions. Currently, 16 people are on the job. They are visiting 30 sites – neighborhood centers and not-for-profits to reach our community. Next month will see new outreach programs, which includes going to barber shops and beauty salons and most important, going door-to-door in low-income neighborhoods that have been hit hardest by COVID-19 and had the least access to vaccinations. This program is funded by a $600,000 CDC grant awarded to the City and SEIU 1199’s Healthcare Education Project. This work will continue for the next two years at a minimum.
Following updates on pandemic statistics and response, Director of Strategic Initiatives Jennifer Tifft joined Mayor Walsh’s monthly briefing to provide updates on the City of Syracuse’s American Rescue Plan Act spending progress. To see ARPA dollars in action, visit the ARPA Dashboard. The administration and Common Council are hard at work to make sure Syracuse’s $123 million award is spent. As of now, $109 million is authorized, $90 million is allocated, $64 million is obligated and $34 million is spent, putting us ahead of schedule for spending pandemic relief (ARPA) dollars.
Safe, Affordable Housing
Related to ARPA, earlier this week, the Common Council authorized a package of critically important ARPA investments – a total of nearly $16 million for safe and affordable housing. Of the authorization, $11 million will go to affordable, single family owner occupied homes are part of the Resurgent Neighborhood Initiative; $4.5 million will go to lead poisoning mitigation, to address 144 units of housing and add staffing for our lead ordinance implementation; and $186,000 will go to an emergency rental repair pilot program which will allow us to fix urgent safety code violations without waiting for landlords. These programs are in addition to the $8 million in funding to city residents who need help with home repairs, to first time home buyers in the city and for pandemic rent relief.
Mayor Walsh updated the community on the results we’ve already seen:
In the past six months:
- 107 homeowners assisted with repairs
- 44 households received rent relief
- 19 first-time home owners
COVID-19 exposed and exacerbated the entrenched housing problems in Syracuse and Mayor Walsh has made it a priority to address those issues in order to make a lasting impact on people’s lives with important and meaningful investments in housing.
Quality of Life Enforcements
Also improving the lives of City residents, Chief of Police Joe Cecile joined Mayor at his May monthly briefing to provide the COMPSTAT report and quality of life updates as it relates to fireworks, dirt bikes and ATVs. The Syracuse Police Department would like to ask that resident call with any information about illegal activity that they witness. Chief Cecile reminded our community, “if you see something, say something. If you hear something, say something.”
Sidewalks and Sanitation
It’s not just the keeping down the noise of fireworks or ATVs and dirt bikes that the City is working on to ensure Syracuse is ready for summer. Mayor Walsh shared with the community that the Municipal Sidewalk Maintenance Program is underway – our first full summer of the program. The city is now responsible for taking care of sidewalks citywide and already seeing positive results. Heavy traffic from cars and pedestrians especially those such as sidewalks near schools, churches and parks have already gone under transformations and are a great example of what we can accomplish. Mayor Walsh shared that the City’s team is evaluating and repairing sidewalks on, at least, 40 city blocks this summer.
Plus, Mayor Walsh provided the update that the City has started to receive new sanitation trucks. With new vehicles, the City has seen some recycling relief. He apologize to residents for recycling delays when they occur. Trash is the first priority, and has been able to remain on schedule throughout this winter and spring. Recycling delays are expected to decrease and be eliminated as the City receives its new trucks – by the end of the year, it is expected Syracuse will have ten new sanitation vehicles.
Mayor Walsh shared two important opportunities for City residents through the Syracuse Surge, our strategy for inclusive growth in the New Economy. First, the Surge Coding Apprenticeship is designed to help women and people of color, with mid-level coding skills, enter careers in the software and coding industry. The 12-month program begins with a month-long pre-apprenticeship training during which participants hone the digital, technical and soft skills necessary to enter full time employment. Each apprentice then has the opportunity to enter a full-time paid apprenticeship role with a local employer partner. Apprenticeship positions include a junior and entry-level software developer, quality assurance analyst and data analyst. This Coding apprenticeship accepting will accept application until May 30. Information can be found at www.centerstateceo.com/syracusesurge.
Additionally, through the recently launched Syracuse Surge XBE Exchange, CenterState CEO will provide support to XBEs – minority-, woman-, veteran- and/or disabled-owned businesses – that enable them to capture business opportunities with established firms in the local market. The program is focused on XBEs in the fields of telecommunications, software development, cybersecurity, digital customer service, advanced manufacturing, digital communications, electrical contracting and business operations. Applications are being accepted through May 30 – find more information at centerstateceo.com/syracusesurge
Happy Memorial Day!
Mayor Walsh wishes everyone a restful and relaxing Memorial Day weekend, and asks that we all take time to remember our fallen service members. Each year, there is a Memorial Day observance at the Onondaga County Veterans Memorial Cemetery on Howlett Hill Road. The program this year is Sunday at 10 a.m. If you are interested and able, please join in this beautiful program.
Watch Mayor Walsh’s full May briefing at this link.