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> Planning - Housing Choices

Emergency Housing Support News:

New York State 90 Day Mortgage Relief

Governor Cuomo announced Thursday, March 19 that the Department of Financial Services has issued a directive to New York State mortgage servicers to provide 90-day mortgage relief to mortgage borrowers impacted by the novel coronavirus. The directive includes:

  • Waiving mortgage payments based on financial hardship;
  • No negative reporting to credit bureaus;
  • Grace period for loan modification;
  • No late payment fees or online payment fees; and
  • Postponing or suspending foreclosures

Borrowers should contact their loan company for details on how to apply. 

New York State Indefinite Eviction Processing Freeze

Effective Monday, March 16, all eviction proceedings and pending eviction orders shall be suspended statewide until further notice. Note: Tenants may still receive notice of eviction proceedings filed by landlords but courts across NYS will not be processing evictions until further notice from the Governor, rent has not been waived and is still due unless renters and landlords make alternate araingements.

Federal Eviction and Foreclosure Freeze for Homes with FHA Insured Single Family Mortgages

The guidance issued March 18th applies to homeowners with FHA-insured Title II Single Family forward and Home Equity Conversion (reverse) mortgages, and directs mortgage servicers to:

  • Halt all new foreclosure actions and suspend all foreclosure actions currently in process; and
  • Cease all evictions of persons from FHA-insured single-family properties.



Current ProjectsHousing StrategyProgramsPlans and StudiesData, Maps, and SurveysTools, Links, and Resources

The Housing Chapter (3.42 MB) of the Tompkins County Comprehensive Plan states that

Tompkins County should be a place where housing is affordable, safe, energy efficient, and appealing.

It is the policy of Tompkins County to:

Decorative picture of a house

  • Encourage a variety of housing options in development focus areas.
  • Support new development of housing where total costs, including utility and transportation expenses, are affordable to households with a range of incomes.
  • Promote energy efficient housing.
  • Provide housing options for an aging population.
  • Maintain an adequate supply of housing for people requiring supportive services.
  • Improve the existing housing stock.

 Current Projects

Housing Strategy
The Tompkins County Housing Strategy was endorsed by unanimous vote of the County Legislature in July 2017. Developed using information gathered through the 2016 Housing Needs Assessment, the 2016 Housing Summit, the County's 2017 Legislature/Department Head retreat, and input from community members, this new Strategy aims to guide Tompkins County in meeting its housing needs through 2025. The Strategy proposes (1) direction and targets for housing efforts over the next ten years, (2) approaches to achieve desired housing outcomes, and (3) monitoring and support needed to track progress and identify concerns that may arise along the way.

The 2017 Tompkins County Housing Strategy replaces the previous 2007 Housing Strategy, which in addition to outlining four strategies to address affordable housing challenges, led to development of the Community Housing Development Fund.

Tompkins County Housing Needs Assessment

The Tompkins County Housing Needs Assessment project was completed in 2016 to update and expand upon the 2006 Affordable Housing Needs Assessment. The 2016 Needs Assessment identifies current housing needs as well as projected housing demand over the next ten years. Current and future needs were examined by various market segments (i.e., various age groups and household types, students, those with special needs, etc.). The project also looked into development costs for new housing and its results are informing the update of the Tompkins County Housing Strategy. An online survey of Tompkins County residents, students, and in-commuters was conducted as part of the Needs Assessment. 

The previous 2006 Tompkins County Affordable Housing Needs Assessment documented housing, economic, and demographic trends in the County and forecasted the number of housing units that needed to be added to the current supply to meet the needs of our population through 2014. The assessment also recommended actions to facilitate an increase in the supply of affordable housing units. The study led to development of the Tompkins County Housing Strategy and the Community Housing Development Fund (formerly known as the Housing Fund). 

Tompkins County Housing Summit: A Place for (All of) Us: Housing By Choice or By Chance?

Tompkins County partnered with a number of organizations and individuals to develop the Housing Summit, which was held on November 30 and December 1, 2016. Hundreds of community members participated in-person and online in this free public event, which examined the community's housing shortage, its effects, and how we can all work together to develop community-based solutions. Presentation slides, the program, news articles, and more are available on the Summit's website. Video recordings of both days are available on Youtube and on the Facebook page, which is also a venue for ongoing community conversations. Ideas from participants' evaluation forms and the many comments and questions received will be used to inform development of the Tompkins County Housing Strategy and other efforts flowing from the Summit. If you didn't register for the Summit or share your email address during the event and wish to be informed as next steps develop, please provide it here to join the email list.


Tompkins County Homeownership Program

The Tompkins County Homeownership Program provides financial assistance to low- and moderate-income families to purchase homes in Tompkins County. Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services, Inc. administers the program on behalf of the County, and more information can be found here.

Community Housing Development Fund (formerly known as the Housing Fund)

The Community Housing Development Fund is a joint effort of Tompkins County, the City of Ithaca, and Cornell University and helps communities and organizations throughout Tompkins County respond to the diverse affordable housing needs of its residents. Projects must include units of affordable housing for low- and moderate-income households. For more information see here.

Plans and Studies

Housing Needs Assessment (2016) - note that an executive summary has been posted along with the individual reports and surveys

Affordable Housing Needs Assessment (2006)

Data, Maps, and Surveys

Tompkins County Senior Housing Preferences Survey (555 KB) (2014)

An Apartment Analysis in Ithaca/Tompkins County, New York (2.69 MB) (2012)

A Downtown Housing Strategy in the City of Ithaca, New York (545 KB) (2012)

Tompkins County Senior Needs Assessment (649 KB) (2012)

Tompkins County In-Commuter Survey Analysis (18 KB) (2010)

Tracking Subsidized Housing Units for Tompkins County (2010)

Tompkins County Renter Survey (2008)

Tools, Links, and Resources

Incremental Development Alliance info is on the Community Planning page, click here!

Land-Use Tools to Promote Affordable Housing (193 KB)

Model Incentive Zoning Ordinance (28 KB)

Model Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance (43 KB)

Vital Communities Toolbox

Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services

Tompkins County Office for the Aging