Landlords voice opinion on Elmira's City Rise program
Elmira, NY (WENY) -- The City of Elmira and the EOP are looking at ways to improve housing. A number of sessions where held with residents and tenants. Wednesday night there was another meeting as part of Phase 2 of the “City Rise” Project. The meetings aim was to hear from landlords on issues they face, not just with tenants but issues as a whole.
Dozens of property owners packed into the EOP building for the City Rise landlords focus group session. Past sessions were held in the various districts throughout the city of Elmira.
“We were here to discuss challenges and solutions and I think it was great. and i think it was a great lift off for something to begin.” said Anita Lewis, the VP of Community and Donor Relations for the Economic Opportunity Program.
City Rise is a grant program. It stands Responsible Investment and Strategic Enforcement. It's aim, to address housing issues, which in Elmira, include eyesores and housing improvements. And like solving any problem the first step is to address it head on.
“We really need to be able to develop systems that are bringing the community together then kind of pitting the two sides against each other because ultimately community development is all of our goal.” said Shaun Marks, the president of Sterling Property Management.
Many landlords rose concerns about squatters, code enforcement and holding tenants responsible for damages. One landlord even brought up what's been effective for him in the past. For instance fixing a broken window, he raises the tenants rent. Some landlords even suggested working closer with police.
“It was great that code enforcement came. Got a chance to talk to them. And everybody had really good questions I though.” said Todd McClellan, a leasing agent with BGM Realty Management.
“A number of problems were addressed by landlords including the issues they face with evictions. According to the Code Enforcer about 30 people are evicted each week in Elmira, which represents the highest per capita total in New York state.
Anita Lewis with EOP led the previous public discussions with and was able to bring insight into what were issues tenants were facing.
“Yes you know there were some different things, you know tenants do this, landlords do this but some of the solutions where the same.” said Lewis.
“I think it's a fantastic idea to have the landlord association and than the tenant association and if we could meet those two together that would bring about a lot of changes.” said McClellan.
This meeting comes as the city looks for more funding to move into phase 3; implementing what's been discussed.
The Code enforcement's office has applied for additional funding set to be used January 1st. That includes adding additional enforcement officers.