Posted at: 10/23/2013 7:02 PM
By: Jenna Lohse
Community Ask for Affordable Housing at Rochester Housing Summit
(ABC 6 NEWS) -- Tens of thousands of people in Rochester are paying too much for housing according to city leaders. That's just one problem discussed during a housing summit today. Community leaders, developers and concerned citizens came together at a housing summit.
While many issues were brought up, one of the most concerning problems is the need for more affordable housing.
We were introduced to a woman who has been through the process of finding affordable housing in Rochester, and hopes something can be done to make it easier.
"If you're homeless coming into town you can probably find yourself being at the shelter maybe 30, 60 to 90 days and some people longer than that,” said Connie Cohen, a local advocate for more affordable housing.
Connie Cohen is speaking from personal experience. She moved in Rochester about eight years ago with her husband, three kids and one on the way.
"We just basically wanted to make it, to make ends meet,” said Cohen.
Connie and her family moved into Interfaith Hospitality Network housing and it took about six months of being on a waiting list before low income housing was available.
Connie told her story during the housing summit in Rochester Thursday, hoping to help find a solution. So families like hers will have an easier time finding affordable housing in the future.
"There's a lot of people in our community like Connie, who need a place to live. Our economy cannot grow we will not be successful in the future if we have a large percentage of our population that cannot afford to live here,” said Rochester City Council Member Michael Wojcik.
With a potential economic boom in the horizon, city and county leaders say there's no better time to look at more affordable housing options.
"The reality is a lot of those jobs coming in are going to be hospitality, retail type jobs which rely on workforce housing,” said Wojcik.
Many believe the Destination Medical Center initiative is a good problem to have. For Connie Cohen - now a first time home owner - she says moving to Rochester was the best decision she made for her family and hopes many others can say the same thing.
“It's very important that we try to get a handle on homelessness and affordable housing within our community. We can do that, we just have to work together,” said Cohen.
The housing summit is looked at as a spring board for how to get things rolling. city officials say a planning committee is getting together tomorrow morning to look at the results from today's discussion and go from there.