WXXI AM News

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WXXI reporter James Brown has done a deep dive on the future of Rochester's Inner Loop. City officials hope President Biden's infrastructure plan could help do away with what's left of it. A goal of that plan is to help reconnect neighborhoods cut off by historic investments and improve racial equity and access to services.

Community members living in areas where development would occur say they support plans to relink neighborhoods, but they worry that the city is moving too quickly or that residents won't be involved in decision-making. We discuss the issues with our guests:

  • James Brown, reporter for WXXI News
  • Nancy Hernandez Maciuska, Marketview Heights neighbor 
  • Suzanne Mayer, president of Hinge Neighbors

Anna Valeria-Iseman

Open Door Mission is embarking on a new venture.

The nearly 70-year-old organization, which provides emergency shelter and services for homeless individuals, is planning to offer individual, supportive adult housing units in about a year.

"We have some units designated for victims of domestic violence, some for youth aging out of foster care, and some for chronically homeless as well as some for folks who are dealing with substance abuse disorder," said executive director Anna Valeria-Iseman.

A group of residents in Brighton has successfully revoked racist property deeds in their neighborhood. The racist covenants in the Meadowbrook neighborhood dated back to 1929, when Kodak built the tract. As noted by an August report co-authored by researchers from Yale and City Roots Community Land Trust, these restrictions were common in the first half of the 20th century. While they are now illegal and unenforceable, thousands of homes in Monroe County still contain them. The covenants have contributed to segregated housing patterns across the county, and have had intangible effects as well.

The group of neighbors formed a committee called "Confronting Our Racist Deeds" (CORD), dedicated to revoking the racist covenants. This hour, we talk about CORD's efforts and the broader impact they hope their work will have in the community. Our guests:

  • Johnita Anthony, member of CORD 
  • Kristin Doughty, member of CORD 
  • Shane Wiegand, board member of City Roots Community Land Trust, and co-lead of the PathStone Foundation’s Antiracist Curriculum Project 
  • Conor Dwyer Reynolds, executive director of the Rochester Police Accountability Board

Assembly member Demond Meeks/Facebook

A New York State Assembly member from Rochester was arrested Friday night during a protest held trying to stop the eviction of a woman who lives in an apartment on Glasgow Street in Corn Hill.  A  statement by activists was released about the arrest of Demond Meeks, who was just sworn into office last month. He posted video on Facebook of his arrest.

A new multi-agency effort aimed at helping local tenants facing eviction was announced Thursday morning. Legal experts say the pandemic has exacerbated the county's eviction issue, with attorneys bracing for double or triple the number of evictions in the next few months. The new effort — the Special COVID Intervention Part, or SCIP — will ensure that every landlord-tenant case will flow through a single part of the city court system. The program also gives tenants the opportunity to access legal counsel.

This hour, our guests discuss the program, how tenants can access it, and its possible impact on the looming eviction crisis. Our guests:

We look at some hard facts about our city and our community. "Hard Facts" is the name of a 2017 report on inequality, and this week, there's an update. The 2020 Hard Facts report does not offer a much brighter picture. Our community continues to see massive disparities when it comes to educational and economic opportunities. Those disparities tend to fall along racial lines.

The authors of the report join us to discuss the roots of these inequities, the data itself, and what can we do to create systemic change. Our guests:

  • Ed Doherty, principal author and researcher of the Hard Facts Update
  • Simeon Banister, vice president of community programs at the Rochester Community Foundation
  • Ann Johnson, executive director of ACT Rochester

A new report from researchers at Yale shows how racial covenants and racist agreements in property deeds have created segregation in Monroe County.

Our guests discuss the history of those covenants, the impact they've had on communities, and how to undo their effects. Our guests:

Passero Associates

The artist's renderings of the future Skyview Park apartments show a modern, four-story building linked by a glass-enclosed bridge to a smaller structure of the same design.

The $45 million, 157-unit senior apartment complex is under construction at the former Medley Centre in Irondequoit.  The project, a partnership between the nonprofit PathStone and Rochester Regional Health, is part of the town's ongoing efforts to transform the abandoned retail center into a multipurpose development.

Screenshot of a zoom meeting

Rochester City Council on Monday discussed a series of proposals meant to stem a wave of evictions that could come as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has halted evictions until Aug. 20 for people directly impacted by the pandemic. Council is concerned that a wave of evictions could follow.

Among the ideas that Council discussed is helping the Catholic Family Center devise a plan to use the $900,000 that the city already committed to spend on eviction prevention. 

Another measure would pay for counsel for those involved in eviction proceedings. That would also cost about $900,000.

Facebook | City-Wide Tenant Union of Rochester, NY

 

The Rochester City-Wide Tenant Union is calling on New York state and local governments to cancel rent and mortgages because of the current public health crisis. 

The group is asking for unpaid rent or mortgage payments to be forgiven for up to 90 days after the state of emergency is lifted.  

“Part of our demand around cancelled rent is to put more protections in to really prevent homelessness occurring as this crisis continues to develop,” said Allie Detinger, who is with the Tenant Union.

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