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Tompkins County Awarded $900K Through State A.G.’s Affordable Housing Initiative

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(Photo: James/A.G.’s Office)

Attorney General Letitia James was in Ithaca yesterday (October 10), where she announced a $900K grant on the way to Tompkins County that comes as part of another round of the 2017 Community Land Trust (CLT) initiative.

CLT is a program created by the Office of the New York Attorney General and Enterprise Community Partners to support the formation of six community land trusts in the state. It acquires and renovates distressed properties to create permanent affordable housing for low- and middle-income families, while also providing training and technical assistance to homeowners.

“By providing Tompkins County with this grant, we are opening the doors to solutions for a problem that affects many families and individuals: the lack of safe, decent, and affordable housing opportunities,” said Attorney General James. “Our mission is to help communities develop solutions that meet local housing needs and revitalize neighborhoods.” 

The program has also led to the creation of a “CLT Learning Exchange,” made up of nine community-based organizations (CBOs) that address housing challenges like vacancy and blight.

These organizations also work to develop and promote new models of community ownership of affordable housing and community spaces.  

  “Enterprise is excited to provide this second round of funding to catalyze new Community Land Trusts and strengthen existing ones,” said Enterprise Community Partners Vice President and New York Market Leader Judi Kende. “CLTs give neighborhood residents the power to decrease displacement, ensure permanent affordability, and, most importantly, make decisions about development in their own communities.”

In Tompkins County, the Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services CLT was awarded $900,000 grant and plans to use the funds to support two developments that will create 18 new affordable homes.

Funds will also be used to establish working capital revolving funds to be used for land acquisition, along with outreach to educate and engage potential homebuyers for homes on the CLT. 

“Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services (INHS) is honored to be one of the Community Land Trust (CLT) programs awarded financing from the CLT Capacity Building Initiative,” said INHS Executive Director Johanna Anderson. “Over the last decade INHS has helped 52 low to moderate income families achieve the dream of homeownership through its CLT program. This infusion of funding will allow INHS to, significantly, increase the number of affordable, quality, homes it can provide in Tompkins County.”

In addition to Tompkins County, the latest round of awards total $7.8 million to nine cities and counties throughout New York State, ranging between $100,000 and $1,1000,000 for each region.

Broome County was one of these awardees, which got $100,000 to start its own CLT.

Other grantees in the latest round include the cities of Albany, Buffalo, New York, Rochester, and Schenectady, as well as Nassau, and Suffolk counties.   

According to Enterprise Community Partners, the first round of the program resulted in the creation of 70 buildings or homes, 453 permanently affordable housing units, and 34 new positions or jobs.

The program also reserves $200,000 if the grantees need additional funding before the 2-year program is complete.

“INHS gave me the tools and support I needed to buy my first house. I never thought I’d own a home, and I’m so thankful they walked me through the process,” said Leslie Benjamin, a CLT resident. “To own my own home feels like I have a bigger place in the world, and that I’m a part of the community in a way I wasn’t before. I value that INHS and its partners support the under served population, and they go out of their way to support the community. I thank New York Attorney General Letitia James and Enterprise Community Partners for their commitment to this issue.” 


Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick: 

“The high cost of housing is one of the biggest challenges facing Ithaca today. I am proud that residents of Ithaca and Tompkins County will now have a fair chance at homeownership, which is key to the long-term stability and the wellbeing of our community.

Through the Community Housing Trust, these homes will remain affordable for residents today and in generations to come. I thank Attorney General James and Enterprise Community Partners for this wonderful opportunity to expand the supply of affordable for-sale homes.” 

 Martha Robertson, Chair of the Tompkins County Legislature:

“Affordable homeownership is key to the long-term stability and the wellbeing of our community, and Tompkins County warmly thanks Enterprise Community Partners for this wonderful opportunity to expand the supply of affordable for-sale homes.

We’re delighted to congratulate INHS on receiving this award, and  thrilled to work with INHS staff to help make it happen. Through the Community Housing Trust, these homes will remain affordable for residents today and in generations to come.” 

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