The Office of Accountability, Performance, & Innovation: Crowdfunding Survey

A Message From: Samantha Linnett, Innovation Design Lead

Back in November, the City of Syracuse posted an RFP as part of the Startup in Residence Program (STIR) with a list of city challenges to be solved. STIR is a program that started at the City of San Francisco and is now an independent nonprofit that works with governments to match them with startups across the country to solve city challenges. The City works with these startups for a 16 week design period, at the end of which a solution has been developed. If the City likes the solution, we can move forward into contracting with the startup. If not, we have no obligation to contract.
One of the challenges the City submitted is in regards to residents needing short-term access to emergency housing funding. The startup we are partnering with is proposing a peer-to-peer crowdfunding solution. This program would allow community members with financial means to contribute money to a pool that residents-in-need could access to cover emergency housing expenses. These expenses could include a security deposit, one month's rent, utility bills, or moving costs.
We are asking for your help! We need to get an estimate of a “funder” market in order for this solution to have potential. While potential funders could definitely include local businesses and philanthropy, they also include you! Below is a link to a short survey. It should take no longer than 5 minutes. We would love if you could fill it out by 5pm on Monday, February 11, and share with your colleagues, friends, and neighbors! All responses are anonymous and will not be shared.
Take the survey here!
Mayor Walsh has made it a priority to improve housing stability and reduce transiency of Syracuse residents.  Based upon qualitative research, security deposits or other emergency expenses are a major contributing issue to housing stability challenges.
The City of Syracuse has a law in place which states that landlords have up to 21 days to return security deposits or tell tenants that they will not receive a refund. Currently, when low-income renters move, they need start-up capital to cover their new security deposit and their first month’s rent. They rely upon their previous security deposit being returned. However, many landlords take the full three weeks to return this money. This means that renters either move into poorer quality housing where they can afford the start-up costs (which leads to housing stability issues), or they couch surf for a month until their previous security deposit has been returned (which leads to transiency issues).
If the City of Syracuse was able to help with security deposit and emergency housing fund challenges for renters, it would help reduce transiency, which impacts school performance, job security, health, and other social issues.
Thank you in advance for all of your help! Please feel free to reach out with questions.
Samantha Linnett
Innovation Design Lead
Office of Accountability, Performance, & Innovation
City of Syracuse

Neighborhood and Business Development Office: Fifth Annual Action Plan for the City of Syracuse

Please click here to find the Fifth Annual Action Plan for the City of Syracuse and funding recommendations for HUD’s 45th Program Year (May 1, 2019 – April 30, 2020).  This Plan contains recommendations for funding programs and services that were vetted through our volunteer Risk Analysis Committee in conjunction with Neighborhood and Business Development (NBD) staff.   

We hope you find the information within the Plan document helpful in understanding the housing and community development needs faced by our city. Today marks the beginning of a 30-day public comment period in which this Department seeks input on the Plan from any and all interested stakeholders.  Two open, public forums will be held for which you are invited to discuss the contents of the Plan.  Please contact our office if you require any special accommodations to make your participation possible. 

§  NBD will be holding a Public Hearing on Wednesday, February 20th at 5:00PM in the Common Council Chambers in City Hall, 233 East Washington Street, Syracuse, 13202

§  The Common Council Public Meeting is tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, March 6, 2018 at 5:00PM, also in the Council Chambers

Written comments can be mailed to the address below and/or emailed to  Please share this information to any interested stakeholders. 

Thank you for your interest in this process and for your continued commitment to strengthening neighborhoods and families in our community.

Seneca Turnpike - Onondaga Creek Access Project

The City of Syracuse was awarded a Local Waterfront Revitalization Program grant from the New York State Department of State to conduct this work, which seeks to implement the recommendations of the 2013 Revitalization Strategy for Onondaga Creek.

Preliminary design concepts for the Seneca Turnpike - Onondaga Creek Access Project. - a project that will improve connections to Onondaga Creek in Meachem Park. The concepts were developed based on input the public provided during a previous public meeting in August 2018. Since August, the team has visited and surveyed the site, reviewed projects and design ideas in other communities, and consulted with other agencies to develop these initial concepts.

Download a PDF of the presentation HERE

John Katko Town Hall Meetings: I-81

“Our community has a once-in-a-generation decision before us as we look to the future of Interstate 81.   This decision impacts not only the City of Syracuse, but the towns and villages that surround it and rely on I-81,” said Rep. John Katko.  “I  have always stated I will stand firmly behind the decision of our community and support it on the federal level.  That’s why I’m looking forward to engaging with folks throughout Central New York in a series of open town hall meetings focused on this important issue.”

Monday, February 4

City of Auburn

Time: 6:00 p.m. 

Location: Community Room at Cayuga Community College
197 Franklin Street
Auburn, New York 13021

This discussion will be moderated by Steve Lynch, Cayuga County Director of Planning & Economic Development.

Saturday, February 9

Town of DeWitt

Time: 10:00 a.m.

Location: DeWitt Town Hall, Court Room
5400 Butternut Drive
East Syracuse, NY 13057

This discussion will be moderated by Town of Dewitt Councilor Kerry Mannion.

Representatives from the New York State Department of Transportation and the U.S. Federal Highway Administration have been invited to attend. 

In addition to the events next week in Auburn and Dewitt, Rep. Katko plans to announce details on additional town hall meetings focused on the future of I-81 later this month, to be held in Salina and the City of Syracuse.

The events are free and open to the public.  Only credentialed members of the media will be permitted to tape.  Time will be allotted for questions.

Enter the Public Square’s launch event Sunday, February 17, 2019 at 1 PM – 2:30 PM

Location: Bishop Harrison Diocesan Center 1342 Lancaster Ave, Syracuse, New York 13210

Come learn about Enter the Public Square organization's programs and ways that you can get involved! We’ll hold a short presentation on the organization, followed by activities centered around civic engagement and civil discourse. Snacks will be provided. Feel free to bring a dish to share.

Have a friend you like to argue with politics with? Bring them along! We're nonpartisan and we'd like to have people of all different political persuasions.

This event is free and open to the public and family friendly so please bring your friends and family!

At Enter The Public Square, we envision an America wherein:

  • A person’s role as a member of our democracy is as integral a part of their identity as their role in their family or in the workforce.

  • Every member of our society knows that their voice matters and that they have the power to shape societal affairs.

  • Every member of our society has the skills, attitudes, and behaviors that enable them to exercise their voice.

  • Regular civic engagement is the norm.

  • People understand that politics is more than elections and partisanship; it’s communities coming together to solve their problems.

  • The strongest force shaping our government is the will of the people.

  • The promise of government of, by, and for the people is

FOCUS Forums


Special Evening Forum: Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019

FOCUS and Leadership Greater Syracuse invite you to

a conversation with

Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh and

Onondaga County Executive J. Ryan McMahon

For More information on FOCUS Forums, Click HERE

Meet the Police Chief: Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019


invite you to join in the discussion over morning coffee with


Syracuse Police Chief Kenton Buckner

at the Syracuse University Community Engagement Offices, 4th floor of the Nancy Cantor Warehouse, 350 W. Fayette St., Syracuse, NY.

Register HERE

HeatSmart CNY

For more information contact: 

Lindsay Speer  Campaign Manager, HeatSmart CNY  833-315-4328

HeatSmart CNY community initiative schedules four free public workshops and open house events

Winter is finally here, a polar vortex is making the news, and many of us are suddenly way too cold in our homes instead of feeling safe and snug. It’s a great time to learn about HeatSmart CNY, how to improve the comfort of our homes and buildings, and how to save money on heating

HeatSmart CNY has scheduled four events during the next three weeks. 

WHEN & WHERE      

Geothermal Open House

January 19, 2:00PM to 4:30PM 

118 Shirley Road  Syracuse 13224

Free Public Workshop

January 24, 6:00PM to 8:00PM

Southwest Community Center

401 South Avenue  Syracuse 13204

Free Public Workshop

January 31, 7:00 to 8:30 PM

Bishop Harrison Center,

1340 Lancaster Road, Syracuse

Geothermal Open House

February 2, 2:00PM to 4:30PM

7375 Song Lake Road  Tully 13159


At workshops about the HeatSmart CNY program, participants learn about efficient heat pump technologies including ground source (or "geothermal") and air source (sometimes called "ductless mini-splits") heat pumps and insulation improvements.  Expert installers are present to answer technical questions.  Information will be provided about links to the incentives and tax credits available.  for people to make building envelope improvements and to install more efficient heating and cooling systems in residences, businesses, and community buildings.

At open house events, people can visit local homes with heat pumps in operation and talk to the homeowners and installers about the experience and the process, as well as get an abbreviated introduction to the HeatSmart CNY initiative.

All events are free and open to the public.

WHO (Available for Interviews)        

  • HeatSmart CNY Program Director Chris Carrick

  • HeatSmart CNY Campaign Manager Lindsay Speer

  • HeatSmart CNY Partner-Installers: representatives from A.C.E.S. Geothermal, Geotherm Inc, Halco, and Snug Planet

  • Steering Committee community volunteers

  • Homeowners who had ground source (geothermal) heating

  • Homeowners who are enrolling in the HeatSmart CNY program


  • Displays about geothermal systems

  • Attendees at an event

  • Images of local CNY homes heated with heat pumps available upon request.

What is HeatSmart CNY:  HeatSmart CNY is a grassroots community initiative to support residents, businesses, and community groups in exploring ways to improve how they heat and cool their buildings. We will connect you to local heating and cooling experts who offer energy efficiency retrofits and the latest energy efficient technologies, such as geothermal systems, cold climate air source heat pumps, and hot water heat pumps, and building envelope improvements such as air sealing and insulation. The campaign is a partnership between the Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board and Alliance for a Green Economy, and it is directed by community leaders who are volunteering their time to support this effort.

How HeatSmart CNY works:  Through community events, open houses, and workshops, HeatSmart CNY provides information about sustainable heating and cooling systems and provides access to vetted and trusted installers.  HeatSmart participants will learn what they can do to improve the efficiency and comfort of their homes and buildings, and receive a free site visit and evaluation to determine which clean heating and cooling technologies are best suited for their home or business.  In select communities, targeted campaigns may provide additional savings on installation costs by signing up multiple homes in a short time period. We also have some grants available for low and moderate income households to help defray the up-front costs to switching to a heat pump.