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Tompkins County Housing Summit to Examine Housing Shortage, Community-Based Solutions

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Tompkins County Housing Summit to Examine Housing Shortage, Community-Based Solutions

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

A free public summit at the end of this month will bring together people who work or live in Tompkins County to examine this area’s growing shortage of housing, its effects, and how we can work together to develop community-based solutions to this problem.

The Tompkins County Housing Summit: “A place for all of us. Housing by choice or by chance?” will take place November 30-December 1, and everyone is invited to join in taking an intensive look at the county’s housing shortage and how we can address it.

“Building on the results of the recently completed Housing Needs Assessment, the County will be looking to gain additional input and perspective toward the update of our County Housing Strategy,” notes Tompkins County Commissioner of Planning Ed Marx. “The Summit will seek to identify ways to overcome community barriers that may exist to providing housing for all segments of our community.”

The Summit is presented by the Tompkins County Housing Summit Committee, a group of community members who have come together to engage the community in a discussion of housing solutions. “This event is for everyone who lives, works, studies, builds, or desires a home in Tompkins County,” says Tompkins County Legislator Martha Robertson, Summit committee chair. “The Summit title, 'A place for all of us. Housing by choice or by chance?', expresses our commitment to be an inclusive, welcoming community, and our desire to be proactive and deliberate about solving this problem.”

Everyone who is interested in joining the housing conversation and shaping our community’s future is invited to the free kickoff session Wednesday evening, November 30, at Ithaca High School’s Kulp Auditorium, 1401 North Cayuga Street, Ithaca. Joined by local experts, Christopher Coes, executive director of Smart Growth America’s LOCUS, will share insights on how those in the community might collaborate to develop innovative housing solutions. Results of our local housing studies will be shared and possible solutions discussed. Doors will open and refreshments will be available at 7:00 p.m., and the program will begin at 7:30.

The free day-long Summit the next day, on Thursday, December 1, will explore the local housing shortage in-depth from all points of view, through panel discussions, question-and-answer, and interactive activities. It will take place 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at The Space @ Greenstar, 700 W. Buffalo Street, Ithaca. Participants will have the opportunity to see examples from other communities, share their housing experiences, and make suggestions for the future. Breakfast, lunch, and an afternoon reception will be included.

Reservations are required for these free events. Space is limited for the day-long Summit and registrations will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis. Register online at or by calling 607-273-8686, X221. (Free childcare is available upon request.)

People are also encouraged to share their housing stories and suggestions at the Summit’s Facebook page at Input received through the site will be shared as part of the Summit.

The Tompkins County Housing Summit is sponsored by The Park Foundation, the Ithaca Board of Realtors, the Community Foundation of Tompkins County, Tompkins County, Cornell University, the City of Ithaca, Tompkins County Area Development, the Town of Ithaca, the Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce, the Tompkins County Council of Governments, and the William Henry Miller Inn.

For more information on the Housing Summit, visit the Summit's website at or its Facebook page, or contact Summit chair Robertson at or 607-274-5434.