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Planning - Housing Choices


Housing 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: 210 Hancock Aerial View

  • 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.


Community Housing Development Fund

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

In addition to partner contributions, the CHDF receives funds from developers under the Tompkins County Industrial Development Agency's (IDA's) Workforce Housing Policy. The policy requires residential developers receiving IDA incentives to set aside 20% of total units as on-site, affordable housing or to contribute $5,500 for every unit in the project to the CHDF. 

Stone Quarry Apartments

Stone Quarry Apartments, located in the City of Ithaca, NY


Housing Affordability and Supportive Infrastructure Grant Program

The Tompkins County Housing Affordability and Supportive Infrastructure Grant Program provides grants for municipalities to undertake activities, such as grant writing, zoning revisions, planning studies, and research, that address housing affordability and supply issues. More information about the program can be found on the Community Planning page.

Plans and Studies

Tompkins County 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 Strategy aims to guide Tompkins County in meeting its housing needs through 2025. The Strategy proposes (1) direction and targets for housing efforts, (2) approaches to achieving 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.

Tompkins County Housing Needs Assessment

The Tompkins County Housing Needs Assessment 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 through 2025. The project also looked into development costs for new housing and included an online survey of Tompkins County residents, students, and in-commuters. Results of the Needs Assessment informed the update of the 2017 Tompkins County Housing Strategy.

Data, Maps, and Surveys

Housing Snapshot

Tompkins County staff track the housing market to ensure that assumptions and goals from the Housing Strategy remain valid, track progress toward Housing Strategy targets, and identify emerging trends.

Tools, Links, and Resources

The Condominium Question: Evaluating the Lack of Condominiums in Ithaca, NY

Habitat for Humanity of Tompkins and Cortland Counties

Incremental Development Alliance

Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services

Tompkins County Office for the Aging