Once a thriving working class community, the northSide has long served as Syracuse’s traditional point of entry for immigrants and refugees. Like many of its regional peer neighborhoods, the northSide had experienced economic decline, resulting in blight and environmental degradation within the physical landscape, unemployment, and crime.
Absentee landlords and an increase of abandoned houses and empty lots has also stretched a deteriorating housing stock that has left fewer units to shelter a growing population and most that exist are less than dignified. More recently, each year, as part of the federal government’s Refugee Resettlement Program, nearly 600 refugee families per year had been arriving bringing a diverse mixture of people representing various parts of the world including, but not limited to, Southeast Asia, South Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
Until they become self sufficient, the influx of newcomers is straining essential services, like schools and public assistance. This greater need comes at a time when city and county governments have shed jobs and struggled to control costs.
While the northSide has diversity that is unparalleled in any other part of the city, it is also plagued with some of the highest rates of prostitution and drug trafficking. As a result of this, there is a tendency for residents to isolate themselves according to their ethnic and/or racial background.