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Tompkins County Announces COVID-19 Rental Assistance Program

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Tompkins County Announces COVID-19 Rental Assistance Program

Monday, June 1, 2020

(Ithaca, NY) – Tompkins County expects over $589,000 to be available for rent assistance for low to moderate income renters in Tompkins County whose incomes have been reduced due to COVID-19.

The COVID-19 Rental Assistance Program will be managed by Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services and coordinated with additional funds from the Ithaca Urban Renewal Agency and reprograming of New York State HOME funds previously granted to INHS.

The program will pay up to 3 month’s rent for households meeting the following parameters:

  • Household income no more than 80% of the Area Median Income for Tompkins County

# of People in Household







80% AMI







  • Households must be economically impacted by COVID-19 (ex. furloughs, hours reductions, etc.)
  • Rent can only be subsidized for a maximum of 3 months for rent due starting March 13, 2020 or after the documented economic impact from COVID-19 began for the tenant, whichever date is later
  • There must be an agreement that the rent will stay the same during the assistance period and the tenant will be housed for the 3 months the subsidy is in place (ideally a lease but other agreements are possible)
  • The landlord must agree to waive any late or other additional fees for the months of rent that are paid by the program

This fund is being created by reprograming $589,222 from Tompkins County’s existing Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) grant to address the need for immediate rental assistance for households impacted by COVID-19. It is expected that these funds will assist approximately 150 households. In accordance with the grant requirements, these funds may only be used to help full time residents outside of the City of Ithaca. The Ithaca Urban Renewal Agency is contributing $190,000 in CDBG funds that can be used to assist approximately 50 households in the City of Ithaca. Additionally, INHS is utilizing $200,000 in New York State HOME funds to assist renters in Seneca, Schuyler, Tioga, and Tompkins Counties.

Director of the Tompkins County Office of Human Rights Rev. Kenneth Clarke thanked the New York State office of Community Renewal and said “This flexibility in how we use our CDBG grant awards will have a big impact in our community. Tompkins County has seen unemployment claims in staggering numbers, and we know that our neighbors need systems that support them, especially when it comes to affordable housing.”

Commissioner of Planning & Sustainability Katie Borgella shared “Shifting this funding from home renovation and rehabilitation assistance to address the critical need for rental assistance during these unprecedented times is a creative way to help as many people as we can to weather this crisis.”

Additional information about the application process will be available on the INHS website at or by calling (607) 277-4500 x201.. Applications from Tompkins County residents may be submitted by mail or online starting June 15, 2020.