HelpContact UsFOILSite Map

Custom Navigation

Living in Tompkins County linkLearning in Tompkins County linkVisiting Tompkins County linkBusiness in Tompkins County linkTompkins County Government link

Cornell University, Tompkins County, and City of Ithaca Extend Affordable Housing Partnership

You are here:

You are here

> Cornell University, Tompkins County, and City of Ithaca Extend Affordable Housing Partnership


Community members who use a nine mile stretch of Route 13 between Warren Rd. and the Village of Dryden can learn more and take the project survey HERE

Injury from falling is a major risk for older adults and people with disabilities.  Click HERE to review information on how to prevent falls from the Office for the Aging.

previous next

Cornell University, Tompkins County, and City of Ithaca Extend Affordable Housing Partnership

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Cornell University, Tompkins County, and the City of Ithaca  have committed to continue the Tompkins County Housing Fund, a successful joint initiative to assist in the development of local housing units that will remain affordable for low- to moderate-income households.  The program, established in 2009, will continue for another six years, through 2021.

The partners’ decision to continue the program comes in light of what they recognize as continuing housing affordability challenges in the community.  To enable the program to continue, Cornell University has pledged a total of $1.2 million ($200,000 annually over the six-year period); Tompkins County a total of $600,000 ($100,000 each year); and the City of Ithaca an initial $100,000 for the first year of the extended program.  Tompkins County also provides staff support to administer the program.

Noting the “multiplier effect” of dollars spent on this type of construction, Cornell President David Skorton said that supporting affordable housing programs in Ithaca and Tompkins County has been a key priority for the university for many years. “We have been long-time supporters of Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services and Better Housing for Tompkins County, two agencies that help our friends and neighbors find safe and affordable housing,” Skorton said. “We continue to support the Housing Fund because building affordable housing has a meaningful economic impact on the community we all share.”

“The Housing Fund has been one of the most successful examples of campus-community collaboration in recent years,” noted Michael Lane, Chair of the Tompkins County Legislature.  “The County is truly appreciative of the support and financial contributions Cornell and the City have provided to establish, and now to continue, the program. Nearly 40 percent of all households in Tompkins County currently pay unaffordable portions of their incomes for housing, and both state and federal funds for affordable housing have been diminishing as demand for them grows. The Housing Fund's success in helping to increase the number of affordable housing units available makes it critically important for efforts to ensure that individuals and families of all income levels can live, work, and participate in community life within Tompkins County.”

“Let there be no mistake, this is a crisis,” stated City of Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick.  “Housing in the City of Ithaca is extraordinarily expensive.  Ithacans pay a larger percentage of their income than anywhere in the region.  This growing crisis requires a proportionate response.  That's why the City of Ithaca has invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in this program and is committed to continuing our support.”

The Housing Fund includes two elements, the Community Housing Affordability Program and the Community Housing Trust Program.  The Community Housing Affordability Program provides no-interest loans for pre-development costs associated with residential and mixed-use real estate development projects that include units of affordable housing.  The Community Housing Trust Program provides grants to cover expenses such as land purchase, construction costs, and other hard costs, which reduce the cost of new non-student housing units to allow them to remain permanently affordable for low- and moderate-income households.

Since the program’s inception in 2009, project awardees have built or begun construction on 124 affordable housing units to date (85 rental, 39owner-occupied), with each dollar awarded through the Housing Fund leveraging approximately five additional dollars in grants and other funding sources. These projects represent over $33 million in total development costs.  An additional 37 units awarded funds continue to move through the pre-development process and are expected to proceed to construction.

Examples of Housing Fund-supported projects include Breckenridge Place (50 units in the City of Ithaca); Habitat for Humanity’s Village Builds (two duplexes located in the villages of Groton and Trumansburg); Holly Creek Townhomes (22 townhomes in the Town of Ithaca); and the City of Ithaca’s Aurora Pocket Neighborhood (one of the three homes supported through the Housing Fund).

Awards received by Housing Fund-supported projects include the U.S. Department of Energy's Housing Innovation Award, the American Institute of Architects' Southern New York Design Excellence Award, and a Community Development Award from The Central New York Business Journal. The Housing Fund encourages energy-efficient, sustainable design, and over half of the units built have been LEED certified or are in the process of certification.