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.

The latest quarterly survey from the Greater Rochester Association of Realtors shows a sharp drop in local home sales, a downturn that the association expected as the effects of the coronavirus were felt starting in March.

Sales of existing homes for the entire region fell about 21% compared to a year ago. In Monroe County, sales were down 9.6%.  However the median sale price of home in the region was up around 8% compared to a year ago.

In a span of just two days, New York state went from partially lifting a pandemic-spurred restriction on showing homes in person to reinstating it once again.

On Wednesday, the Empire State Development agency said many real estate-related functions are "essential" and allowed one-on-one home showings. By Thursday night, though, the agency said those showings can be "virtual" only.

Rochester Housing Authority

The Rochester Housing Authority says that its public housing waiting list applications will now be accepted online at www.rochesterhousing.org/apply.

Public Housing is a program in which qualifying applicants live in a unit owned and operated by the RHA.

Applications for the Public Housing Waiting List can be submitted at any time, since the waiting list for this program remains open throughout the year.

Rochester City Court has a new housing section. Now, tenants can bring small claims actions against landlords to be heard by a judge.

We talk about how the system will work, and we hear from a local tenant and a local landlord who share their perspectives and concerns. In studio: