City's "Healthy Housing 101" Aims to Educate Potential Homeowners, Landlords about Code Issues

Jun 7, 2018

This house at 1512 S. State St. may not look promising, but a determined owner could fix it up.
Credit Cameron Tirado / WAER News

A dilapidated home with cracking paint and weeds growing through the front steps on Syracuse’s South Side is going to serve as the focal point of a Safe and Healthy home tour.  The house is situated behind another home after a long walk-up a cracked driveway.   

Director of Code Enforcement Ken Towsley says inspectors will lead the public tours and point out what hazards needs to be addressed.

“This idea came out in the last few months about how we can educate the community.   The TOP program we started last November on the north side opened our eyes to an education process our inspectors were able to provide to community groups.  We're working with the I-Team on ways to be more proactive.  This is one of the ways we figured out we could utilize Land Bank and this house that is available to us.”  

Director of Code Enforcement Ken Towsley says electrical outlets have to be secure and up to code.
Credit Cameron Tirado / WAER News

Towsley says homes like this are a part of the inventory of the Syracuse Land bank and can actually be enticing to buy for non-occupant landlords.  Low interest loans are provided through Home Headquarters and the renovations can continue, even when the budget runs out.

So if they're fixing up the major stuff, and they need to paint the house, we'll work with them going forward that maybe [they can get to it] next spring.  We're aware of it, you're aware of it, you've done a great job fixing the major stuff, but your out of money now.” 

Towsley wants the tour to educate housing providers and anyone dealing with tenants on a continuing basis like social workers or case workers.  He says it could also offer some advice to people living in substandard housing on what changes to make.  Towsley explains that problems aren’t necessarily easy to spot and hidden dangers may exist.

Furnaces and hot water heaters have to be properly vented to the outside so deadly carbon monoxide doesn't build up in the basement.
Credit Cameron Tirado / WAER News

Smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, anyone can pick up those in a heartbeat.  It's the loose outlets, no light fixtures, things like that they're not paying attention to...the venting down in the basement.”  

…where hot water heaters and furnaces  can cause carbon monoxide poisoning if the gas is trapped inside.   So far 80 people are signed-up for the tour which takes place on Friday, June 15th from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 1512 South State Street in Syracuse.  More spaces are available by signing up online here.