Tompkins County officials and community partners gathered Friday (September 20) at a home in Dryden to celebrate a successful decade of pooling resources to address the areas affordable housing crisis.
The residence on Crystal Drive is currently under renovation for a client of Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services (INHS) and sits on land that will be held in its Community Housing Trust.
As per the Trust arrangement, INHS retains the land and the buyer purchases the home, helping to ensure that the home remains affordable not only for the initial buyer but for subsequent buyers, as well.
Established in 2009, the Community Housing Development Fund (CHDF) receives annual commitments of $100K/each from Tompkins County and the City of Ithaca. Cornell University also puts in another $200K/year.
On Friday, Cornell Vice President for University Relations Joel Malina announced the University will make an additional one-time contribution of $200K to the Fund to help it meet some of the unmet demand for its resources.
“The Community Housing Development Fund is a great example of community-campus collaboration, and it’s a privilege for Cornell University to work with Tompkins County and the City of Ithaca on this landmark initiative that works to ensure that newly constructed or rehabilitated housing units remain affordable to successive buyers or renters,” said Vice President Malina.
The latest contribution will supplement the additional $200K that Cornell will pay in each of the next two years, pursuant to the latest extension of the Housing Fund agreement.
Malina also announced that, upon expiration of the current agreement, the University will extend its $200,000 annual contribution for another six years, which will bring Cornell’s total investment to $3.8 million by the end of that six-year extension.
While recent published reports indicate that residential construction permits in Tompkins County hit a new record of 805 units in 2018, Tompkins County Legislature Chair Martha Robertson noted that fewer than 20% (155) were for single family homes, showing home ownership opportunities still lagging.
Robertson also chairs the CHDF.
“To create affordable housing opportunities for our community, no one entity does it alone,” said Robertson. “We are so fortunate to have the partnership of our largest employer, Cornell University, together with the City of Ithaca and Tompkins County to create the CHDF. Together, we three partners have provided almost $4 million, leveraging approximately $114 million in outside funding over the last ten years, to support construction or rehabilitation of 491 units of affordable housing across Tompkins County.”