After a brutal homicide in Skyline Apartments, ongoing health and safety concerns in the building were highly publicized, and the conversation about affordable housing took center stage.

Tenants in the Skyline Apartments are some of many across the city living on fixed incomes with few housing choices.

One resident said he felt unsafe living there.

“Yes, I only leave my apartment when I need to,” he said.

The building has been on the city’s radar for years, along with a dozen others.

“We need to invest everything we can," said Sally Santangelo, executive director of CNY Fair Housing. "We need to provide more affordable housing and improve the quality of housing.”

Santangelo says right now, there is an unprecedented demand and the cost of housing is incredibly high. This often leaves people with only the option to rent, and minimal options for where.

Santangelo says the enforcement for code violations is laughable.

“We need to crack down on enforcement, but we need to increase options for people so that the market will help to improve quality," Santangelo said. "And they can refuse to rent because they’ll have other choices."

The average household income in Syracuse is just more than $38,000 a year. Suppose a household with this income pays $800 a month for a two-bedroom apartment. Then, they’re left with around $28,000 to live for the year.

“The people who are making money in the blighted areas are the slum lords," said Sharon Sherman, executive director of the Greater Syracuse Tenants Network. "And who pays cash for a property way below the value. And then, with no mortgage to worry about, they can afford to not keep the properties up. If someone moves out, they’ll find someone else who wants the lower rent.”

The Syracuse Greater Tenants Network supports tenants and works to strengthen code enforcement, along with a number of other projects.

"The answers are very difficult in the rental market," Sherman said. "Yes, we want to see people have the opportunity to buy their own home, and that will move them out of the rental market, but this is a very complex issue.”

Fourteen million dollars of the American Rescue Plan aid is devoted to creating new homes for first-time buyers, developing new rental units for low-income residents and cleaning up existing properties.

But with decades worth of housing problems, advocates say it won’t nearly be enough to put an end to them, though it is more help in the fight for fair and equitable living.