Congressman Joins Tipperary Hill Neighbors in Expressing Opposition to Halfway House Relocation
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Congressman John Katko (NY-24) expressed grave concern for the relocation of a Residential Reentry Center (RRC) and Home Detention Services, commonly known as a halfway house, to the City of Syracuse’s Tipperary Hill Neighborhood. Rep. Katko this week outlined his position in a phone call with the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
“The Tipperary Hill neighborhood is a historic gem in Central New York. It is home to countless families, young professionals, and growing businesses – and draws numerous tourists to the neighborhood each year,” said Rep. John Katko. “A halfway house is simply not conducive to the vitality and well-being of the existing neighborhood. That’s why I’ve made the continued safety of this neighborhood a top priority.”
The current RRC in Syracuse is operated by a non-for-profit, Firetree, and is located in an urban and commercial section of Erie Boulevard in the City of Syracuse. Because Firetree’s contract recently expired, the Federal Bureau of Prisons is obligated to solicit competitive bids to renew services in Syracuse. Boston-based Community Resources for Justice recently proposed relocating the halfway house to West Fayette Street in the Tipperary Hill neighborhood.
During the call, Rep. Katko outlined that Tipperary Hill is one of the oldest, most treasured neighborhoods in the heart of the City of Syracuse. He expressed concern for the damage that this project could have on the revitalization efforts in our City, and noted the proximity of the potential site of the halfway house to the Syracuse Boys & Girls Club, a number of schools, churches of many faiths, libraries, family parks, and residences.
“For over sixteen years, I served as a federal prosecutor in Syracuse and I fully understand and appreciate the need for comprehensive and regimented re-entry services in our community,” continued Katko. “But I see no immediate or apparent reason for the relocation of our current halfway house — especially when it could jeopardize the safety of young children and families in our community. I also have concerns that this location is less than ideal for a rehabilitation center. It is clear to me that the perceived benefits of this relocation are far outweighed by a multitude of risks.”
The solicitation for a halfway house contract takes into account community support, or lack thereof, as well as proximity to sensitive sites such as schools, churches, and residential neighborhoods. Since taking office in January, Rep. John Katko’s District Office has received numerous letters from Tipperary Hill families, business owners, and residents expressing their opposition to the relocation of a halfway house to the Tipperary HillNeighborhood. Rep. Katko has conferred regularly with Tipperary Hill Neighborhood Association President Janice McKenna, Common Councilor Chad Ryan, and County Legislator Chris Ryan on the status of this proposal.
“I have been contacted by dozens of families, homeowners, and businesses in the Tipp Hill community who have worked tirelessly over the past two years to fight against the relocation of a halfway house to their neighborhood. I echoed these concerns to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, and I will continue to support these advocacy efforts,” concluded Katko.
Congressman John Katko represents the 24th Congressional District, which includes all of Onondaga, Cayuga, and Wayne Counties and a portion of Oswego County. For more information, please visit https://katko.house.gov or www.facebook.com/RepJohnKatko.