The application period for this challenge is now closed

  • Governer Partner :City of Syracuse
  • Department :Office of Accountability, Performance, and Innovation
  • Category :Digitization, Payments / Lending, Process Improvement

Project Summary

Crowdsourcing platform to connect low-income renters and people willing to provide 21 day loan for security deposits

Challenge Details

The City of Syracuse would like to develop a platform that is similar to Kiva.org where renters could apply for security deposit loans.  Interested renters would apply to be part of this program. If selected, they could publically share their story and explain why they need a security deposit loan.  Then, other people in the community could review the stories, and choose to help fund someone’s loan. If renters are issued a loan, they will repay it back with 0% interest.  The solution should include the generation, collection, and analysis of data.

 

Mayor Walsh has made it a priority to improve housing stability and reduce transiency of Syracuse residents.  Based upon qualitative research, security deposits 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 couchsurf for a month until their previous security deposit has been returned (which leads to transiency issues).  The City currently has no data about the size, magnitude and extent of this issue.

 

If the City of Syracuse was able to help with security deposit challenges for renters, it would help reduce transiency which impacts school performance, job security, health, and other social issues.

 

The Office of Accountability, Performance, and Innovation (api) is focused heavily on both housing stability and financial empowerment.  This project fits within both priority areas, and leverages other financial related projects and partnerships.

 

A solution to this problem would strengthen housing stability for renters by reducing the number of times that they have to move.  Additionally, it has the potential to get renters into better quality housing. By addressing both of these issues, the City of Syracuse can help to reduce the negative impact of social issues related to housing instability.